Glennwood Remodel Busts its Budget


By Justin Swanson | LB Indy


Older than expected plumbing and wiring is contributing to cost overruns and delays in the opening of Glennwood’s group home.
Older than expected plumbing and wiring is contributing to cost overruns and delays in the opening of Glennwood’s group home.

Unexpected construction costs in a building being revamped as a group home for developmentally disabled young adults has Glennwood Housing Foundation supporters scrambling to bridge a $350,000 shortfall.

Upon beginning demolition and reconstruction of a former retirement facility in December, contractors discovered plumbing and electrical systems that were two decades older than anticipated and that full-scale replacement and updating was necessary.

When the foundation acquired the building at the corner of Ruby and Coast Highway in 2010, the plumbing and electrical systems were reported as updated as recently as 1996, said Randy Larson, Glennwood’s founding board president. City officials inspected the building, and video was taken to document walkthroughs.

However, when construction workers began tearing apart first-floor bathrooms to make them accessible to those with physical disabilities they found the plumbing dating to the late ‘70s. When they saw-cut the foundation to inspect more plumbing, they found pipes disintegrating like a shipwreck.

Soon after, contractors considered the electrical system, which turned out to be even older, from the ‘60s. “They wouldn’t carry today’s juice,” Larson says.

“There was no way of knowing,” says Executive Director Shauna Bogert. “The sellers couldn’t have known unless you opened it up. The building had been vacant for four years.”

Thus, Glennwood, which once anticipated opening early in 2013, is returning to the task of fundraising, after already receiving $1 million towards construction. The goal is to complete the residence in May and open its doors in June.

The foundation’s lender will not yet release a $50,000 contingency fund until the end of the project, says Larson.

A local group that identifies itself as the Sunshine Foundation recently donated $50,000 to Glennwood. And the foundation is pursuing several grants that could help cover up to 40 per cent of the shortfall, but awards won’t be made until late in the year.

“In a way, it’s a good thing,” Bogert reflects. “If we had to deal with these issues with residents living here, we would have had to relocate everyone while we fixed it. Now they’re coming to what amounts to a whole new building.”

Bogert says additional construction costs will not be passed on to the future residents. The interview process is under way to identify prospective tenants.

“We’re calling for all hands on deck to help us finish this,” Larson says. “Whether it’s a small check or a big check, if we raise the money we’ll have the cash to finish.”

Tax deductible donations can be sent to Glennwood Housing Foundation, 101 Pacifica Suite 255, Irvine, CA 92618 or via PayPal online at

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