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Rogue X tops $75 million

The existing design concept for the new aquatics and sports complex in Medford. (Image: City of Medford website)
The existing design concept for the new aquatics and sports complex in Medford. (Image: City of Medford website)

The latest cost estimate to build the “Rogue X” sports complex with two pools, a splash pad and an events center is 25% higher than original estimates.

The $75,781,036 price tag is $15.18 million more than a 2019 estimate, driven by market forces related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement released by Medford city officials Friday.

Despite the steep cost escalation, the city will not seek any additional taxes, fees or charges from local residents.

A lower-interest loan secured by the city will save $29 million in interest expenses over the life of the 30-year project.

“If we didn't get such a favorable rate when we sold the bonds, we would have scaled the project back,” said Medford City Manager Brian Sjothun.

The project also received additional federal support with $3.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

All the features promised to Medford residents will be retained in the facility, which features not only two indoor pools and a giant events center but two splash pads, with one indoors and one outdoors.

Sjothun said the outdoor splash pad almost got cut from the project, but some engineering changes for the facility helped shave off some costs.

Pence Construction, the general contractor for the Rogue Community Credit Union Community Complex, known by the city as Rogue X, has also released a so-called guaranteed maximum price for the construction at $66,712,536. The remainder of the project total was incurred by the city to prepare the site, engineering and architectural expenses.

According to Pence, the cost of construction materials alone has increased $7.3 million since June 2020.

With warning signs about cost escalations, the city approved a $6 million award to Pence Construction in October to buy 400 tons of steel needed for the project.

Sjothun said the size of the parking lot has been decreased, and the city has an agreement with Logos Public Charter School to use its parking lot at times.

In the future, if the sports complex has sufficient demand, the parking lot could be expanded.

The sports complex will be located at Howard Memorial Sports Park in west Medford off Ross Lane. It is named after Wes Howard, a local man who bequeathed the property on which his house sat to create a youth sports park.

“If you had to buy this piece of property to build this thing on, it would be a $100 million project,” Sjothun said.

He said he’s discussed the plans for the park with John Schleining, who is on the foundation board for the Howard Park.

“He said, ‘This truly does meet the intent of what Wes Howard meant, and probably a little more,’” Sjothun said.

The city has been in discussions with the Medford School District to build more ballfields at the 58-acre park in the future. Less than half the park will be devoted to Rogue X.

If the council approves the guaranteed maximum price Jan. 20, Pence will begin above-ground construction by March 15, with substantial completion of the building by Aug. 1, 2023, and final completion by Sept. 15, 2023.

The city expects the sports complex to generate $1 million to $2 million a year in revenues.

Internally, the city has used Rogue X as the name for the park as a kind of shorthand, but the name has gained popularity in the community.

Rogue X “is the Rogue Credit Union approved name,” said Rich Rosenthal, Medford Parks director. “They recognized that it would not be called by its full name.”

The naming rights enable the city to provide a free swim safety class to Medford children.

While the cost of the project has increased, the development is proceeding relatively smoothly.

“The project is on time,” Rosenthal said. “All the key milestones are being met.”

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.