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Fourth Street Garage Repairs To Cost $300,000 More Than Initially Estimated

A sign that says the fourth street garage is closed

The Fourth Street Garage will remain closed for repairs through early August. (Steve Burns, WFIU/WTIU News)

The City of Bloomington says a new estimate shows repairs to the Fourth Street Garage will cost about $300,000 more than initially predicted. 

The garage closed for repairs in January after the city council voted down an $18.5 million proposal to demolish the structure and build a new, larger garage. The council instead decided to repair the garage, which could extend its life by another five years. 

Structural engineers initially estimated the cost for repairs to be around $1.1 million.

But Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen says a recent evaluation from CE Solutions shows the garage deteriorated more quickly than anticipated, and will now cost $1.4 million to repair. 

"Included in that were some elevator repairs we wouldn’t have expected to have had to make if we were to tear down and rebuild, which was the administrations recommendation," he says. 

The tunnel that connects to Fountain Square Mall also has structural damage that Renneisen says the city has to repair. 

The city says it expects the work will go out for public bid in March, and a construction firm could be selected in April. It's expected work to repair the garage will start the same month. 

But, the city council must first approve an ordinance to fund the cost difference for repairs. Renneisen says the city has the money to cover the project, but hasn't decided what fund it will pull it from.  

It's expected to take the issue up starting March 20.

The city says the garage will remain closed until early August, but will reopen by the time Indiana University students return for classes. 

While the city is working to repair the Fourth Street Garage, it's moving forward with plans to build a new parking garage in the trades district. The city council approved the project in December, and a selection committee recently chose Indianapolis-based CSO Architects as the design firm. 

The city is considering three potential sites for the garage, which will have up to 300 parking spots. 

The first potential location is the surface parking lot just south of 10th Street that Showers Building employees currently use. The city is also considering green space it owns just south of 11th Street and east of Bender Lumber. The final site is next to the administrative building on Morton Street, where the city has an existing surface lot. Renneisen says the city would want to purchase the adjacent, privately-owned surface lot if it chooses that option. 

Renneisen says the next step is for the city to hire a Construction Manager as Constructor, which is a new building model the legislature made available to cities last year. 

He says the Construction Manager will work with the city and architect to meet deadlines and cost parameters. 

"If you say, for example, you want to use a particular type of steel, this Construction Manager as Constructor might say the lead time to order that is 12 months so that will push your project back by x number of months," he says. 

The city will solicit public feedback on the garage plans in April. 

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