WPA Building Renovations Get Approval
June 21, 2014
By Mallory Ragon
The city council approved with a unanimous vote on June 18 to award a construction bid to The Wilson Group, Inc. for the renovation of the WPA Post Office. The building will be the new home for the Lee’s Summit Historical Museum.
The Lee’s Summit Historical Society (LSHS) originally presented the concept to the city council in April 2011. The museum’s move will double its space from its current location at the train depot on Main Street in downtown Lee’s Summit.
The Wilson Group’s base bid of $415,000, with an alternate amount of $12,868, will bring the total contracted amount to $427,868. The renovations were originally expected to cost about $450,000. Initial bids for the project presented earlier this year, however, were in the neighborhood of $550,000-$700,000, sending the city council into a little sticker shock.
After revisiting the plans, Hollis + Miller Architects scaled back the scope of the renovations and made several cost-savings adjustments in order to bring the total project cost down.
They also reduced their contingency fund from $50,000 to zero: Councilmember Rob Binney wondered what happens in a project like this when you don’t have a contingency fund. John Wisniewski, senior architectural partner for the firm, assured the council, “We can’t say there are no unknowns, but we know more about the building than we ever had before.”
LSHS hopes to move into the new space by early December. Construction is expected to begin in mid-August and completed by November 17.
Kathy Smith, president of LSHS, left the meeting thrilled with fellow society members. Shaking hands and hugging people on her way out of the council chambers, she laughingly asked congratulators if they were ready to help her move—finally.
Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray commended the society and recognized Councilmember Dave Mosby for his ongoing support of the project.
“This is a monumental point in LS history,” he said.