File Photo

Cash needed for restrooms

File Photo

MOUNT DESERT — Bids for renovation of the old brick restroom building at the Seal Harbor beach parking lot have come in far above the town’s budget for the project.

Selectmen Monday night informally agreed to ask voters at town meeting next spring to approve the expenditure of “undesignated funds” to cover the difference.

Architect Bill Hanley had estimated the renovations would cost $100,000. But the low bid, submitted by Associated Builders of Ellsworth, was $164,628.

“The architect, at his expense, began negotiations with Associated to see what items could be eliminated or altered to reduce the costs while maintaining the integrity of the intent of the project,” public works director Tony Smith said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt. “Following a number of meetings … the cost was reduced by $26,112 to $138,516.”

Refinishing the restroom windows, rather than replacing them, will save $13,000.

However, with the architect’s fee, a 10-percent contingency and inflation factored in, the total estimated cost of the project is $162,939.

The restrooms were constructed in 1922 with funds donated by the Dunham and Rockefeller families. The red brick building with a clay tile roof has no electricity, is not handicapped accessible and has serious plumbing and other problems. The selectmen decided last year that it should be saved, rather than replaced, because of its historic and architectural value.

Selectman Dennis Shubert said Monday night that the renovation costs seem “over the top.” Selectman Tom Richardson expressed displeasure that the actual cost will be so much more.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]