Lacamas Lake Lodge project more expensive than expected

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Pictured is an architect's rendering of the proposed Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center, which will be built on the site of the former Camas Moose Lodge. Funding issues have delayed the bid award process.

The Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center project is going to be more expensive than Camas city officials originally anticipated.

All four bids opened on May 13 were approximately $20,000 higher than the city engineer’s estimate of $1.79 million. Adding to the overall higher price tag for the project is fuel tank remediation work recently completed at the site. All told, Public Works Director Eric Levison said an additional $200,000 will be needed to fully fund the project.

The city had already secured a $1.65 million 10-year, 3 percent interest loan from the State of Washington LOCAL program. Another $350,000 is being provided by the Friends of the Camas Community Center.

City officials received word on Thursday that the state approved their request to boost the loan to $1.85 million. The Camas City Council will vote during its next meeting on Monday, June 17, whether to accept the new loan amount and award the contract to the low bidder.

The additional funding will also allow for a “cushion,” for any cost overrun incurred during the course of the project.

Camas City Councilman Don Chaney said the 12.5 percent cost increase raises some red flags.

“I think we’ve all expressed support for this project,” he said. “But for me, it’s not the project at any cost.

“I’m not saying no to it yet,” he added, “but I’m just concerned.”

The proposed project will include a 5,000 square foot building that will consist of a large event space, two smaller meeting rooms, office space, kitchen, restrooms, storage, large covered patio and a 60-foot long dock. The facility, which will be located adjacent to Heritage Park, will also feature a fireplace and vaulted ceilings, with large windows to take advantage of the lake views.

Operating costs for the new facility are expected to be $60,000 per year. Approximately $17,500 has been set aside for this expense in the 2013 budget.

The former Moose Lodge building was razed by Camas city work crews during the first week in April. Despite the wrinkle in the city’s original funding plants, construction is still expected to start in June, and the Lacamas Lake Lodge and Conference Center is expected to open to the public in early 2014.

“I think this is an opportunity that is not going to get any cheaper by waiting,” Higgins said. “I still feel like it is the best opportunity to move forward.”