Case Study: Mesa Arts Center

Budget + Consensus

This project had a significant budget shortfall, a significant number of stakeholders with differing objectives and a State Statute that required selection via low bid only. As the Owner's Advocate, Project Director Rick Pfannenstiel protected the integrity of the project by working with the Design Committee, City Finance Department, Non-Profit Leadership, and the Design Team to reach consensus on objectives. And he structured a bidding process that ensured that only qualified bidders would respond. The project was brought in within budget.


A 207,000 sq.ft. performing and visual arts center with a 1600-seat Tom and Janet Ikeda Theatre, 550-seat Virginia G. Piper Repertory Theatre, 200-seat Nesbitt/Elliot Playhouse Theatre, and 99-seat Anita Cox Farnsworth Studio Theatre, 14 performing and visual arts studios, visual arts gallery, and administrative offices sited on a 7-acre downtown plaza.


Rick Pfannenstiel, as the Owner's Advocate, led and managed the collective Project Team on behalf of the City of Mesa. He achieved consensus among the significant number of Stakeholders, developed planning documents, performed design document reviews, facilitated cost estimate preparation/ reconciliation and value engineering, established and updated project schedules, performed construction administration, and defined and initiated internal staff assignments.

Challenges met

During the Planning Phase the program validation exercise demonstrated that the proposed total project budget, which was established in the needs assessment, would be 35% to 85% less than the anticipated program, function, and quality goals. The Project Team led by Project Director Rick Pfannenstiel orchestrated collaboration among the Design Committee, City Finance Department, the Non-Profit Leadership, and the Design Team to synchronize objectives and reach consensus. Rick met the public procurement challenge by developing and implementing a qualified apparent low bid process that protected the integrity of the Project and, by aligning Stakeholders goals, he developed priorities and gained consensus that advanced the Project.


The Project was delivered successfully without claims.

For information about the project's architects:

BOORA Architects Click Here.
DWL Architects + Planners Click Here.

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