The New Vienna Community Center

[BACKGROUND: The Vienna Chapter of the Nationals Association of Retired Federal Employees hosted a candidate forum on Tuesday, April 12th.  One specific question they asked of all candidates is provided below along with response.]

Share your thoughts on the construction of the new Vienna Community Center.

I think we have faced a series of challenges with the design/development and now construction of the community center. The hiring of the construction project manager the project has definitely improved the Town’s ability to affirmatively manage the project. I believe we now have in place the right people and right approach to keep the designer and contractor accountable.  Having the Parks and Recreation Director and Construction Manager provide updates at each Council meeting and work session has increased accountability as well. We cannot fix what has happened in the past but we can work toward having the project come in within the modified schedule and budget. We are by no means near the end of the road and so this will require vigilance on the part of staff and the Council.

The other element I plan on keeping a keen eye on is staffing/programming in the interim until completion and for when the new community center is open. Running the new center will be different than the old building and staff must be prepared to hit the ground running. Input from the Community Survey will be helpful here as well.

Next up is the police station. Our construction project manager should put together as lessons learned memo from the community center that would be used by the Department of Public Works and the Police Department to inform the design, constructability/value engineering process as well as the expectations of the contractor. Police stations bring a whole other aspect of security and information technology into the project and we should not be afraid to identify the right assistance up front.

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