Husky Sustainable Storms: Bioswale (Phase 2)

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF:

Letter of Intent:

Husky Sustainable Storms (HSS) warmly thanks the CSF for its generous contribution to the stormwater treatment project. Thanks to its funding, the project is on-track to apply for Phase Two in improving water quality runoff. This project brings students and staff together towards solving stormwater issues on the University of Washington campus. We estimate that HSS will have all documents and approvals necessary for construction in April of 2012, but construction funds for this project are necessary for its implementation.

HSS requests to submit a full application to the CSF for construction funds in the second round of funding. It plans to request $60,000 to build the stormwater project. Without this sum, the design will cause limited impact to stormwater remediation.

This project is a priority for the University of Washington. Students collaborate with Kristine Kenney (Capitol Projects Office), Rebecca Barnes (Capitol Projects Office), Jim Morin (Engineering Services), Peter Dewey (Transportation Services), and Howard Nakase (Grounds Shop). These authorizers assist HSS in developing and approving design alternatives. Moreover they inform students of cost and landscape constraints. Their role and support expedites the project’s construction preparation.

The N-5 parking lot is an ideal site to remediate stormwater. It drains into the combined sewer system. A treatment facility will lower the severity of water runoff in high storm events, and lower the risk of a combined sewer overflow event. The site offers high visibility to pedestrian and car traffic. Finally, the project area features enough area to make a meaningful improvement to water quality.

In January, CSF suggested that HSS keep the cost of the project to $30,000. HSS consulted with UW staff and engineers for estimating the cost of the project. All engineers stated that $30,000 covers very limited construction costs. A greater sum will pay for construction of facilities that adequately remediate the site, the construction team, potential permits, and potential cost overruns. A greater sum is critical to moving the project from design and research (Phase One) to implementation (Phase Two).

This estimate has been advised through the following:

  • UW Staff and Mentor Advice: Jim Morin (UW stormwater engineer) Kristine Kenney (UW Capitol Projects Office) and Peter Dewey (Transportation Services Director) as well as mentoring engineers advise the cost estimate. They note that costs add up quickly, and the scale of the facility will improve cost efficiency. For example, if the project requires cutting concrete, costs will rise without commensurate increases in stormwater remediation.
  • Capitol Projects Office Advice: Mentors in the UW Capitol Projects Office suggest HSS set 10% of the cost aside to pay for the review and oversight of construction. Additionally, they state all projects must set aside 15% of construction costs for potential cost overruns. If the maximum budget were $30,000 then only $22,500 could be allotted for actual construction for remediation. Curb cuts alone can cost up to $10,000.
  • Low Impact Development Research: The impact of bioretention facilities is contingent on the size of project and the quality of materials. Therefore, meaningful impact requires a higher budget to pay for a project that is sized for optimal remediation.

CSF requested that HSS explore cost-saving options. HSS pursues these options seriously. It works towards this goal in the following ways.

  • Donations: HSS receives pro bono services and mentorship from Huitt-Zollars. This mentorship is valued at $15,000. Additionally, Huitt-Zollars will be liable for the project design at double the construction cost, with construction cost estimated at $60,000. This is a tremendous donation for the students as well as the University of Washington.
  • Cost Efficiency: The team stays cost efficient through careful budget and time planning. Close collaboration with University staff facilitates efficient use of grant funds, especially in the design review process. HSS hopes to finish Phase One under budget and rollover savings to Phase Two.
  • Matching Funds: HSS researches matching funds; however, the end of the year (September through January) provides the best opportunity for government and non-profit matching funds. Funds typically require a minimum match, and the funds must be granted to HSS before HSS can apply for the match. By these standards, HSS qualifies for matching funds at the end of 2012.
  • University Funds: Additional funds could be generated from University departments. The opportunity for these funds will depend on the final design of the project, and no commitment has been made.
  • Materials and BMPs: HSS collaborates with an experienced engineer so they can learn best practices at the least cost. As they continue the project design process, cost savings remains a theme to all design development steps.

Project Report: Brief Chronology

Through Phase One, HSS makes meaningful steps towards preparing the stormwater project for construction.

  • January: HSS meets four hours per week regarding design review, engineering support, and approval processes. Each member works independently for five additional hours per week. The team begins student outreach, increasing knowledge of water quality issues. They identify five firms willing to offer reduced cost or pro bono services. They negotiate a contract with a firm that optimizes the CSF’s investment in HSS. HSS identifies sources for potential funds.
  • February: HSS navigates approval for the project through the Capitol Projects Office. The team narrows its design alternatives. They author case studies on design alternatives. They draft landscape initial conditions. They locate acquire as-built drawings from Facilities Services records and Engineering Services. They expand community outreach to students interested in water quality improvements as well as prepare for community design critiques.
Primary Contact First & Last Name: Patrick Green