The scope of the golf course clubhouse renovation has changed again after the Devine City Council rejected four of six change orders totaling $62,436 requested by GRG Architecture and Greco Construction during a Special meeting held at noon last Thursday, April 15.
Council approved a $1,892 change order upgrading 3/4-inch water pipes to 1 1/2-inch pipes, as well as a $4,950 change order for kitchen electrical outlets, for a total of $6,842.
The four rejected change orders totaled $55,594.
All five Council members attended the meeting, which was conducted in the community center in just over an hour thanks to a previously-scheduled municipal court session. District 3 Councilman David Espinosa called in to the meeting from the hospital, while District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez left prior to voting.
GRG’s Edward Garza said the change orders stemmed from the age of the clubhouse, originally built in the 1960s, and Council’s decision to pursue a full-service kitchen over the smaller one that was initially approved (see “Devine City Council opts for full-service restaurant for golf course clubhouse,” Mar. 10, 2021 edition of the News).
At that time, Garza provided a Council-requested feasibility study that estimated a full-service kitchen would cost an additional $16,000 to $20,000, and told Council to be prepared for the price to go up another 15 or 20 percent on top of that.
The original budget for the renovation was $250,000. After Council approved a $342,000 plan presented by GRG on August 18, 2020, it approved Greco Construction’s $336,000 bid on January 26.
Council authorized a $450,000 tax note to pay for the renovation on September 22, 2020.
“It’s not an insignificant amount of work,” Garza said at the April 15 meeting. “It’s a much older building. There’s certainly a lot of discoveries that are made that are pretty typical when you’re working with an existing building. You really don’t know what you have until you start digging up the foundation.”
Change order 1 – plumbing upgrades, $8,140
The request included moving plumbing fixtures and adding more to accommodate a full-service kitchen.
Change order 2 – architectural enhancements, $26,070
A number of different items ranging from wall repair to the relocation of doors were included.
Garza explained that the design documents were created based off of record documents from the ’60s, and that what those documents showed wasn’t always accurate.
“What’s under the ground kind of dictates what’s going on above the ground,” Garza said. “So when we thought we could go through the floor with plumbing, we realized we can’t because there’s a big concrete beam. So if we were to follow the design documents as shown, well that would be very difficult.”
Garza said some of the work would have been done without upgrading the kitchen.
“But now that we are, it kind of captures what we would have done on the original, plus it gives us the benefit of making this enhancement even less costly,” Garza said.
Change order 3 – water pipe upgrades, $1,892
Garza said the clubhouse’s record documents showed 1 1/2-inch water pipes that turned out to be 3/4-inch pipes.
“The way it normally goes is that if things are drawn a certain way, they get installed a certain way,” Garza said. “And 99 percent of the time it’s not an issue.”
Garza explained that the clubhouse is getting new plumbing fixtures that require a larger line.
“It’s not just that there’s a pressure issue, it’s a volume of water that needs to be supplied,” Garza said.
Change order 4 – air conditioner upgrades, $18,700
The plan approved for the original limited-service kitchen included a five-ton condenser, but Garza said that the change to a full-service kitchen required a transition to a two-ton condenser and a three-ton condenser due to controls required for the air exchanges.
“Now that we’ve increased the cooking line by almost three feet, we were just at the threshold of what they designed the system to handle before on the original, and now we’ve extended it a little more,” Garza said. “It just kind of pushed us into that area where instead of having a single five-ton unit, we now have a three and a two, and that allows the system to adjust a lot more efficiently.
“You would have been fine before, but again, just adding that additional three feet of line, you’re adding a little more equipment, it takes a little more heat for each one of those fixtures.”
District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall asked if the five-ton condenser would work with the current plan, and Garza said no.
“What was on the original design was for the original equipment,” Garza said. “If you want to change it and make it a full-service kitchen, this is what you need to do.”
“So what we have will not work?” Randall asked. “That’s what I’m asking. Will it work, what we have? The air conditioner unit.”
“The original design will not, was never designed for this full-service [kitchen],” Garza said. “What was originally designed was again, feasibility study, was a limited-service kitchen. So that’s what it was designed for.”
Change order 5 – electrical work, $4,950
Additional electrical outlets were requested in the kitchen.
“Some of it was for this new [kitchen] layout,” Garza said. “There was an idea to have a prep area that necessitates a few electrical outlets. A new 208-volt, 30 amp, 330 circuit with a new disconnect. I believe that’s also associated with the additional equipment for this full-service kitchen.”
Change order 6 – load-bearing wall, $2,684
“There was discovered a load-bearing wall where we had shown a wall being demolished, and again, record documents didn’t really indicate that this was a load-bearing wall,” Garza said.
Additional issues included a wall with wallpaper not being fit for painting after the wallpaper’s removal, and unexpected difficulty prepping the ceiling for painting.
Discussion and vote
Scott Grego of SG Golf Management, who has a contract with the City to oversee daily operations at the golf course, said that if the increased cook line was the only reason for changing the air conditioning units, it should be left at its original 14-foot length.
“At this point, fix what you need to fix,” Grego said. “Get the restrooms ADA compliant, electrical up to date, and get out, and I’ll finish the rest.
“We’re tired of being drug through the mud in every newspaper about what we’re wanting. We just want a restaurant. Just get there, get out, and we’ll finish. ”
SG Golf Management and Jerry and Missy Stevens, who plan to sublet the clubhouse to operate restaurant Charlie’s Daughter, petitioned Council to increase the scope of the project to include a full-service kitchen after Council had approved the original plan presented by GRG.
The City owns the golf course, as per its contract with SG Golf Management, is providing $32,536 a month for “personal and professional services” until the completion of turn-key restaurant and bar in the clubhouse.
Since the monthly payments began in Jan. 2020, the City has paid SG Golf Management $488,040.
The City does not receive any revenue generated by the course.
Jerry Stevens echoed Grego’s thoughts on sticking with a 14-foot cook line, while District 2 candidate Angela Pichardo emphasized that the clubhouse is City property and renovations need to be done correctly. Misty Houston of Thompson Houston Real Estate and G&E Custom Homes, sister of Mayor Cory Thompson, criticized the contractors for assuming that the clubhouse walls would be ready to paint without prep after removing wallpaper.
Espinosa said he was disappointed and criticized Garza’s stewardship of the project
“You need to get started on the project, continue the project, meet your obligations, to get this project done with,” Espinosa said. “Get it done with and let’s move forward.”
Thompson asked if construction would stop if Council didn’t approve all six change orders, and Darrell Greco, owner of Greco Construction, said it would not.
“We can complete the job as per the original plans,” Greco said, adding that there would be a minimal charge for concrete cutting that had already been done. “Other than that, you know, everything else can be done per the original contract.”
Garza pointed out that a water heater has already been planned to be moved outside, in conjunction with the relocation of a walk-in refrigerator from a wholly interior location to an indoor/outdoor one.
“Those things are in place,” Garza said. “So I guess what I’m saying is the layout would have to revert back to what it was originally. And if you recall, the layout that we came up with was I guess approved by the City for the original scope. We were tasked to do a feasibility study to find out what would it take to add some more equipment and move things around. We supported those ideas, and I think it would be a benefit for the operation.”
Randall’s motion to approve change order 1 died for lack of a second. A motion by District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler and District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega to deny the change order passed 3-1 with Espinosa voting for the motion and Randall against.
Randall’s motion to approve change order 2 died for lack of a second. A Vega-Lawler motion to deny the change order passed 3-1 over Randall’s objection and with Espinosa’s support.
A Randall-Vega motion to approve change order 3 passed 3-1 over Espinosa’s dissent.
A Vega-Lawler motion to deny change order 4 passed 3-1 with Espinosa voting with the majority and Randall against.
A Randall-Vega motion to approve change order 5 passed 3-1 over Espinosa’s objection.
A Randall-Vega motion to deny change order 6 passed 4-0.
The golf course was set to be discussed again at Randall’s request during the Regular meeting scheduled for press night on Tuesday, April 20. The agenda item was to discuss and consider SG Golf Management’s request to purchase the golf course, which was initially proposed publicly by Shirl Grego during the April 15 meeting.
By Marly Davis