Convention center design contest not a waste of public funds

BAGUIO CITY – Members of the City Council belied earlier reports that the P2.3 million to be spent by the local government for the Baguio Convention Center architectural design contest is a waste of public funds, saying that the design contest is a way by which top calibre architects and design enthusiasts can share their concept of what the city’s premier convention facility should be.

Councilor Maria Maylen Victoria G. Yaranon, who is an architect herself, explained the P2.3 million to be spent by the local government for the one-year duration of the architecture design contest is much cheaper compared to the 8 to 10 percent designer’s fee which should be paid by the city if it commissions an architect to design the multi-million project.

She explained that if the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Baguio Convention Center will cost P500 million, then the local government is obliged to pay the commissioned designer around P40 to P50 million, thus, the P2.35 million planned to be spent by the city for the architecture design contest is cheaper and will result to substantial savings on the part of the local government.

Yaranon said the convention center has deteriorated over the years and it is a low-performing and low-income generating property of the city, thus, the need to rehabilitate and upgrade the facility and its surrounding grounds.

On his part, Councilor Elmer Datuin, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Finance and Appropriations, said the architecture design contest is one of the local government’s way of enticing the private sector in sharing their vision of what should the convention center look like once the city has money to upgrade the facility.

Datuin pointed out while the local government is sourcing out the funds to fully rehabilitate the convention center instead of simply renovating it from time to time, the design contest should already be done so that local officials will be aware of the magnitude of the project once implemented when funds will be available.

Among the objectives of the design contest which has a prize of P1 million for the winning design include designing a modern convention center that conveys the historical and architectural significance of the site and former structure; proposing the maximum use of renewable energies in the building and site design; providing design best practices for ecologically feasible and resilient building and site development; integrating value engineering in the design and proposed construction method and promoting public involvement in the selection process.

Pending before the local legislative body is an ordinance appropriating the amount of P2.3 million from the city’s non-office allocations for the prizes and other administrative costs related to the conduct of the architecture design contest.

City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO) officials admitted that its pool of experts could not handle the said magnitude of designing a structure because they are involved in the preparation of designs for numerous projects in the city funded under its annual budget. /By Dexter A. See


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