Final cost of Lucas Oil Stadium still unknown - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Final cost of Lucas Oil Stadium still unknown

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Lucas Oil Stadium may be done when it comes to construction, but four years after the stadium opened, the final cost is still up in the air.

John Klipsch, executive director of the Stadium Authority, is still on the job, though he is part-time and now working out of a crammed office just a few blocks north of the stadium. Several stacks of boxes marked with titles such as "water damage" and "rust and corrosion" explain why Klipsch is still on the state's payroll.

"I think we delivered a beautiful building to the state and I'm proud of what we've done and I'm going to finish the job for the governor and wrap up all the business. That's my goal," Klipsch said.

The unfinished business, as Eyewitness News first reported in early 2011, was a serious plumbing problem. A mile and a half of galvanized pipes that carried water to restrooms and concession stands were rusting, corroding and in some places, leaking.

The pipes (about five to six percent of all pipes in the stadium) were replaced last year with stainless steel and copper pipes.

Nearly two years after the problem was discovered, the Stadium Authority, bonding and insurance companies are still fighting over who's responsible for the faulty pipes and who pays.

"When there's insurance companies and lawyers involved it's just a complicated process," Klipsch said.

It's become an increasingly expensive one. Initially, the costs were estimated at a few million. They've since climbed to nearly $10 million.

Klipsch said, "$10 million on a $720 million project is, putting things in perspective, not that much, but it's a lot to fix a plumbing problem, I'd agree."

Klipsch provided a breakdown of the pipe costs as of August 28th. Pipe repairs and replacement account for nearly $5 million of the costs, engineering consulting and testing along with construction management total more than $1.6 million, with the remaining $2.6 million going mostly toward attorney and consultant fees.

Part of that ($262,120) is also for the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority administrative costs, which until recently included Klipsch and his deputy director.

Klipsch was hired in May 2005 at $20,000 per month to oversee construction of the stadium and convention center (which was finished in January 2011.)

Per his amended contract last fall, Klipsch's salary dropped to $16,000 per month to reflect "the reduced need for consultant's services." In January it dropped to $8,000 per month and in April $4,000 a month (based on the calculation he worked an average of one eight-hour day per week.)

With his deputy director now gone, Klipsch said he's put in an extra day or so a week at a rate of nearly $1,000 per day. He said he's still closing out the convention center as well, with just one thing remaining: replacing the terrazzo outside the building's new entrance on Capitol. Once that's done, he gets the other half of his $125,000 bonus for finishing both projects on budget and on time (on time means the building is open and operational per the original schedule.)

As for the stadium, he said the Stadium Authority hopes to enter mediation with the bonding and insurance companies as early as next month. He said so far the added costs have been covered by the reserve fund, but Klipsch said that fund is down to $4 to $5 million.

Asked at what point do they settle and cut taxpayer losses, Klipsch responded, "We think the bond and insurance companies and other entities have a responsibility here and we're not going to walk away from that."

He added, "$995 million was the budget of both projects (the stadium and convention center.) Even if we don't get all the money back, it's less than one percent (over budget and that's pretty outstanding in today's market." 

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