Palo Alto's effort to rebuild the Mitchell Park Library and Community Center -- the centerpiece of the city's $76 million library bond in 2008 -- is facing greater scrutiny these days because of rising costs and possible errors by the project architects.
On Monday, the City Council will consider if these errors are severe enough to justify legal action.
One month after the council reluctantly agreed to add $3.7 million to the project and authorized a 20 percent "contingency" ceiling for unanticipated construction costs, members are planning to meet behind closed doors to consider the city's legal options. The Monday closed session will include discussions of both "potential exposure to litigation" and "potential initiation of litigation."
The $41 million project is one of three funded by a 2008 bond. The city has already completed renovations to the Downtown Library and is in the midst of planning for the expansion of the Main Library.
The Mitchell Park project, by far the largest of the three, drew attention on Sept. 12 when the council learned that some of the design plans were incomplete, prompting the construction company, Flintco, to request a host of change orders, increasing the bill for the library's reconstruction. The designs were submitted by the project architect, South San Francisco-based Group 4 Architecture.
The council directed City Attorney Molly Stump to consider whether the city should consider legal actions "all responsible parties."
The council also requested monthly reports about change orders for the construction project. According to the first such report, which the council will review Monday, the city has already approved eight change orders for Flintco -- changes that added more than $1 million to the cost.
A ninth change order, which would add $223,816 to pay for tube steel and "curb changes," is now being processed.
The project, which is about halfway done, remains about $8 million under the engineer's initial cost estimate.