Construction bids for the Encinitas library have come in up to 50 percent higher than a city estimate of $9.3 million.
Officials this week opened four bids, ranging from $14.1 million to $18.6 million, to build the library on Cornish Drive and bury nearby utility lines.
The city has programmed $13.6 million for construction.
Officials attribute the higher-than-expected bids to increased costs of construction and materials brought by global competition and domestic natural disasters.
As many of you know my wife is a budding architect. We were talking about the cost of projects like these. She says that since materials are so expensive the trick is to be clever and design "clean with no bling".
At her firm she took over a remodel project for some crappy strip mall out in the sticks. The project was way over budget so she cleaned up the previous design, removing all the goofy ornamentation and weird angles and corners that served no function and saved the client $100,000 in one day's work.
"You can't just haphazardly design a building without thinking about the labor it will take to build it. California worker's comp insurance drives construction cost up to $200 an hour. It's stupid to have your workers spending hours and hours building useless gimmicks that make the building ugly anyway."
That is the kind of mentality we need not only for the Encinitas public library but for the sick and twisted notion of spending $16 million on pedestrian crossing for the train tracks. My wife thinks we could have crossings every 1/4 mile for less than $5 million instead of just 4 crossings for $16. Aye caramba!