New estimates for construction of the U.S. Marshals Museum site and facility have dropped the price in half to $16.5 million.
Patrick Weeks, president and CEO of the Fort Smith museum, told his board of directors Tuesday that the reduction in the building’s complexity and new soil tests that lessened the demands on foundation work led to the reduced costs. The building site previously served as a landfill for debris following the 1996 tornado that hit Fort Smith and Van Buren. Removal, and then replacement, of “unsuitable soil” was previously expected.
Weeks told the board Tuesday that Little Rock-based CDI Construction Inc., the general contractor for the musem, recommended drilling to test the soil.
“They dug three big pits for visual inspection and what we learned is that we don’t have to dig out 16 feet of dirt and debris, and then refill it,” Weeks said. “This is great news because there’s cost savings there, there’s efficiency there.”
Last year, CDI estimated the museum’s site and facility cost could reach over $33.5 million, a marked increase over a 2009 estimate of about $25.3 million. This was before the redesigns and board mandate to stay within the museum’s total $58.6 million budget for a 50,000-square-foot facility.
Site work for the future U.S. Marshals Museum is now expected to begin in the fall and still be able to stay on schedule and in budget since there is no need to dig down and let the new dirt settle, board member Claude Legris said. Construction will begin next spring with a timeline set for a Sept. 24, 2019 opening to…
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