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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Park Board to vote on simplified design process for new Riverfront Park pavilion

To avoid the delays and budget overruns that have plagued some of the other features in Riverfront Park’s redevelopment, the Park Board is mulling a different design strategy for revamping the U.S. Pavilion that will require state approval.

Next month, the board will vote on a resolution authorizing what’s known as “progressive design build” for the pavilion, which will put one firm in charge of designing and overseeing construction of the attraction, rather than splitting those tasks between two firms.

Matt Walker, a consultant for Hill International, which provides management services for the park’s redevelopment, has pushed for using the method, which he said will cut down on unexpected costs and increase collaboration between city officials and the builders.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the park board to get the most bang for their buck,” said Walker.

Typically, one firm pitches its expertise to the city to provide an architectural rendering. That rendering is then shopped to various construction firms, all of whom provide their estimated costs to build. In what are called “alternative delivery methods” for major civic projects, either one firm is hired to oversee design and construction, or the two firms are hired at the same time and work together.

If the board chooses to pursue a progressive design build approach, the city will once again have to make its case to the review committee, after failing to persuade members in May 2015 that another kind of alternative delivery made sense for the park as a whole. That application proposed using one firm to coordinate the efforts of up to six architecture and engineering firms on the design and construction of the six attractions planned in Riverfront Park: the new Looff Carrousel building, ice ribbon, regional playgrounds, pavilion, Howard Street Bridge overhaul and public spaces.

The review committee rejected that application, saying having one firm oversee all the signature projects could lead to cost overruns and the work would be too complicated.

Limiting the scope of the project to the pavilion, and going with just one firm to design and build the attraction, should allow the city to make a better case before the committee, Walker said.

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