Inflation, materials shortages drive up cost of new heritage center

PHIL DRAKE

The price tag for the new Montana Heritage Center now under construction in Helena has grown from $52.7 million to a projected $72 million, and officials are citing inflation, higher supply costs, supply shortages and labor issues as reasons for the increase. 

Those affiliated with the project said they are taking measures to reduce costs while creating a facility that remains warm and inviting. And they note the money raised for the new facility comes from a bed tax and does not pose a burden to property taxes.

While the projected cost is higher, the budget for the project remains at about $63.7 million. This represents a 21% increase to the budget, and officials said they hope to hit that number by “working on a value engineering process to reduce the costs.” 

Marty Byrnes, principal architect with Cushing Terrell, which designed the project, said costs started rising in May, when the construction industry began to feel impacts from COVID-19. When the pandemic first hit, there were stockpiles of materials.

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