The city commissioners gave their authorization on Monday to changes to renovation plans at Madison's new utilities building. The changes added about $14,500 in costs to move the city's water, wastewater and electric departments into the building on S. Highland Ave.

To make the changes to construction plans official, the commissioners had to authorize Mayor Marshall Dennert to sign the change-order documents. The city purchased the building located on the west side of Madison from East River Electric Power Cooperative. The building was previously used as the co-op's substation maintenance building.

Madison officials plan to use the building to house the city's utilities departments and related equipment and vehicles.

Commissioner Jeremiah Corbin asked if the renovation project remained under its original budget, and the answer was yes. The project for buying and renovating the building was given a $320,000 budget. Project expenses currently amount to $261,610.

According to Brad Lawrence, Madison's utilities director, some of the change orders dealt with additions to the renovation project, some involved improvements, and some were performed to meet standards. Lawrence noted that he had consulted with Corbin, Madison's utilities commissioner, about changes to renovation plans.

The details of work performed within the new change orders included:

-- Changing door installation from steel to wood to match other doors in the utility building and adding an oil and sand separator at a cost of $1,673.

-- Adding a utility tub, blocking for furniture, a door and door closer and eliminating handrailing for $1,165.

-- Adding insulation to exterior stud wall and fire wall for $2,535.

-- Adding a frost-free stoop and replacing window sills for $2,800.

-- Removing and replacing exterior siding and repairing trim for $4,400.

-- Extending the stoop at no added cost.

-- Adding more concrete around the front entrance stoop and replacing interior office window glass for $1,965.

The total amount of added cost with the change orders is about $14,500.

The city commission had approved, in late December, a change order that added to the utilities building a concrete floor with in-floor heat. That change created a cost of about $21,000.

The project's total cost of change orders currently amounts to about $35,600.

Commissioner Bob Thill questioned the need for the number of changes to the original renovation plans, saying the "...change orders were way out of hand." Thill said the total added costs could amount to $35,000 to $50,000.

Lawrence pointed out that the plans had changed from just moving the municipal Electric Department into the building to also moving the Water and Wastewater Departments into the building. He added that as a public facility, the building would need ADA-compliant bathrooms and other features.

Lawrence also said the decision to install dual-fuel heating to the building was made to have the city lead by example, because city officials are asking utilities customers to install dual-fuel heating.

According to Lawrence, the commissioners would see other expenses related to the project, including the costs for adjusting the building's boiler and furnace systems to provide efficient operation and moving a crane to a different work bay. He said those expenses should prove minor.

Dennert noted that after the renovations were complete, city officials were considering holding an open house at the new utilities building.