SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Renovations planned for one of West Virginia Regional Technology Park's buildings have been delayed because costs are about double the initial $10.5 million price tag.
Phil Halstead, executive director and CEO of the tech park, said Tuesday he isn't sure when construction on Building 770 -- which was supposed to start no later than Feb. 1 -- will begin.
He spoke during a meeting of the South Charleston Economic Development Authority.
Officials are now focused on figuring out how to fund the building's renovations.
"The original estimate of $10.5 million for Building 770 was based on improving the facility's energy consumption including a new HVAC system, replacement windows, and other energy upgrades," said Paul Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which oversees the park. "Since the original review, the building has been evaluated in greater detail to determine the costs associated with a full redesign ... [and] the projected costs have increased significantly."
The tech park in South Charleston sits at the top of Union Carbide Drive, off Kanawha Terrace.
The HEPC acquired the 258-acre park through a donation of land and facilities from Dow Chemical. A November 2010 study by analysts Battelle Technology Partnership Practice and CH2M Hill recommended the changes.
The HEPC has secured the $10.5 million. Of that amount, $5.25 million is coming from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and will be matched with $5.25 million from the state.
Morgantown-based architecture firm Alpha is designing the renovations.
Halstead said the architect's estimates are now more than $17 million plus an additional 25 percent fee for "soft costs," including architectural and engineering fees.
"We've got to find ways and means to make this happen," Halstead said.
The renovations will increase the building's energy efficiency and lower its operating costs. The 139,000-square-foot Building 770 has four floors of laboratory and office space. As it is, Building 770's energy costs make it too expensive to rent, Hill previously said.
Supplying electricity to all buildings at the tech park accounts for about one-third of the park's operating costs, Hill said.
To help cut costs, the tech park will save $1 million a year since it shut down its central steam plant and put individual boilers in each building, Halstead said.