Error Adds $2M To Construction Project At Tulsa Zoo

Thursday, October 13th 2016, 9:05 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A big construction mistake at the Tulsa Zoo will cost at least $2 million to fix; the Zoo said it plans to reach out to donors to cover the cost.

It was a crucial mistake that happened last February but the details are just coming out.

A survey incorrectly set the floor of the buildings so low they would have flooded. It was discovered after some concrete was poured - so that was torn out, redesigned, and rebuilt.

Sometime in the very early stages, not far removed from the groundbreaking, a mistake in surveying led to the first buildings being started almost two feet below the proper elevation.

The mistake carried through to all of the construction done before the problem was discovered.

While construction is now on track, what News On 6 reported Wednesday as a less expensive problem, now is confirmed by the Zoo as a mistake that will cost well over $2 million.

10/12/2016 Related Story: Survey Error Adds Cost to Tulsa Zoo Project

The problem came up Wednesday at city council because taxpayers are funding part of the project - but they won't be on the hook for the $158,000 impact on the city's portion.

Paul Zachary with the City of Tulsa, said, "We have an agreement with TZMI - they are paying this fully. This is not being charged to the sales tax account."

The Lost Kingdom is the first major exhibit of a new master plan for the zoo - and the two largest buildings were underway when it was discovered they were below the flood plain.

Portions were torn out and rebuilt over the summer.

The story is just coming out but the details are locked up while lawyers determine who is at fault and who will pay for it.

The $2 million mistake is part of the increasing cost of the Lost Kingdom - a project that started at $16 million two years ago is now at $21 million.

Despite the problems, the zoo said the Lost Kingdom exhibit will open next May, in time for the summer peak of visitors.

They are talking to donors about covering the cost but hope insurance will cover it.