College Park’s Calvert Road child care center project could end up costing the University of Maryland about $1.2 million more than originally expected, university official Carlo Colella said at a city council work session Tuesday night.
The project, which is in the “50 percent design phase,” Colella said, will likely cost about $6.9 million, as opposed to the original estimated cost of $5.7 million in 2015.
The project’s cost has risen largely because of an increase in labor and material costs over the past few years, said Colella, the university’s vice president for administration and finance.
The child care center will be located on the former site of the Friends Community School.
The city council narrowly approved the proposal in March 2017, with Mayor Patrick Wojahn casting the deciding vote. The center was expected to be completed within two years, but Wojahn said the process has been delayed by permitting processes, negotiations and legal document preparation. He said the center is now expected to be completed in late 2019.
Colella said that plans for the center have reduced spaces designated for staff and support, as well as shared spaces, to maximize the space that will be used by children. In total, those spaces have been scaled back about 2,600 square feet to get the project closer to budget, he said.
“We’ve tried to reduce and squeeze where we can to make sure we can keep this project viable,” Colella said.
The existing historical two-story structure will be completely restored and renovated, Colella said. New mechanical, electrical and plumbing will be installed, as well as a new roof and new windows. The existing one-story building on the site will be razed and rebuilt.
Wojahn said a community meeting would be held on Sept. 26 to discuss the project. With the city council’s approval, Colella said he hopes to have construction documents ready in November.
The center is expected to serve 120 children between six weeks and 5 years old, with 14 seats guaranteed for the children of College Park residents who are not university employees, Wojahn said. That number has fluctuated since the project began, Wojahn said. The next seats will be allocated to the children of university employees who are also College Park residents.
The building has been mostly unused since 2007. The city’s only financial contribution toward the project will be allowing the university a 30-year lease at no charge, Wojahn said.
“There have been talks for many years about what we were going to do with that building,” Wojahn said. “We kind of lucked out in a way because we now have a good community amenity in College Park that serves residents that the city didn’t have to put any additional resources towards other than the land and the building.”