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City receives national award for capital improvements office

The City of Kansas City, Mo., in partnership with MWH, has been named the recipient of the 2006 Award of Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships by the United States Conference of Mayors. Mayor Kay Barnes and City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen received this distinguished award Thursday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 74th winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

Kansas City was honored for the formation of the centralized Capital Improvements Management Office, which was created on Jan. 5, 2004, to re-engineer the City’s delivery processes and re-invigorate its backlogged capital improvement project portfolio.

“We’re extremely pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the City’s innovative partnership with MWH,” said Mayor Kay Barnes. “The creation of CIMO has enabled us to more quickly and efficiently revitalize downtown Kansas City and make much needed improvements throughout our neighborhoods while restoring community confidence in city government.”

The Capital Improvements Management Office was conceived and implemented by Barnes, Cauthen and the City Council, in partnership with MWH and Burns & McDonnell, which are two nationally recognized engineering program management firms. The City’s private sector partners brought leadership and industry best practices to the City that resulted in a more efficient approach to capital project delivery.

“The combined efforts of the public and private sectors have facilitated the centralization of project-delivery responsibility within the City,” Cauthen said. “We’re now moving projects through the system faster and setting the same standards for all projects, whether it is a storm sewer upgrade or a bridge improvement."

Today, CIMO directs the delivery of approximately $1.2 billion in projects, including major redevelopments such as Kansas City’s downtown entertainment district, the Bartle Hall (Convention Center) expansion and the Sprint Center arena, as well as contracting $190 million in neighborhood and public service projects. CIMO’s priority capital project portfolio has expanded from 150 to more than 300 projects, with the help of the dynamic new fast-track capital project delivery structure, which has helped rapidly resolve the backlog and streamline projects toward completion.

“It’s been a privilege to have this opportunity to collaborate closely with the City, Mayor Kay Barnes and City Manager Wayne Cauthen to help streamline and manage the redevelopment and renovation of one of the nation’s most richly diverse and vibrant cities,” said Mike Musgrave, the MWH project executive for CIMO. “With the City’s support, we’ve been able to serve a key leadership role in the development of new processes, practices and tools that have enabled faster, more efficient and cost-effective management and delivery of capital improvement projects.”

CIMO’s efforts are also helping provide better public services for Kansas City citizens, thus enhancing safety and quality of life. Under CIMO’s management, the construction of a regional police training academy, a new patrol station, four new fire stations, and four fire station renovations all began in 2004 and 2005, with planned completion by 2006. These projects total $90 million, with construction on many of the facilities finishing in just 12 months, which is a significant improvement in project delivery time from previous efforts.

Project delivery time has been cut in half – down from an average of three years to less than 18 months, while still maintaining a high level of quality. Costs to manage and deliver a project have been cut by more than 50 percent – down from about 18 percent of total project value to about 8 percent. Time frames for bid to notices to proceed and for paying contractors have been pared by 30 percent and 50 percent, respectively, garnering the City the cost savings and other benefits of preferred client status from contractors.

In 2005, CIMO issued 117 notices to proceed totaling $194 million in City contracts, which is an unprecedented amount of work in one given year for the City. Fast-tracking capital projects and embedding a culture for completing them on schedule is attracting private development within Kansas City – creating job opportunities for the local work force while providing greater residential, business and retail options for residents and tourists, and a stronger tax base for the City.

For more information about the U.S. Conference of Mayors Award of Excellence in Public/Private Partnership, call Lara Schopp, press secretary for Mayor Kay Barnes’ Office, (816) 513-3503; or Donna Mandelbaum, Capital Improvements Management Office, (816) 513-2757.

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