The city's Redevelopment Commission on Thursday voted 4-1 to commit another $150,000 to the development of the Pantheon: A Business & Innovation Theatre — money officials involved in the project say is necessary due to unexpected overages in construction costs.

Mayor Joe Yochum approached RDC members during their regular monthly meeting and asked that they commit the city's half of the estimated $300,000 needed to finish the project, which is to transform the historic downtown theater into a shared workspace and small business incubator.

“This is a project that has been supported by elected officials,” he said, pointing to the inter-local agreement signed in 2018 between both the city council and county councils that officially struck the deal to split the estimated $2.4 million to build out the Pantheon. “And I don't want to see this project stop just because we're $300,000 short.

“There are a lot of great things to come out of this.”

The RDC two years ago committed just over $330,000 to the city's $1.2 million share of the cost.

A 5-member board comprised of both city and county elected officials was formed to oversee construction, and a $2.4 million contract was awarded nearly a year ago to Wolfe Construction.

The project was scaled back, however, to fit within the allotted budget, essentially cutting out a planned second floor and a third-level theater-style meeting space.

But even with those cuts, Yochum said unexpected costs are throwing the project over budget.

City officials, too, had hoped to get a $500,000 grant to help finish the outside, but they've been unsuccessful in their attempts.

RDC president Tim Smith, also chief of the Vincennes Township Volunteer Fire Department, said he's been looking into the issue in recent days; he and Greg Parsley, an RDC member and superintendent of the Vincennes Community School Corp., even met with members of a separate, larger operational board set up as a non-profit to handle private donations and oversee the Pantheon's daily operations and therefore not subject to the Open Door Law.

So far, Smith said, there have been about $175,000 “add-ons” to the original $2.4 million construction contract. Among them, a $40,000 claim from a local pest control company for the removal of pigeon feces. There were also unexpected insulations costs.

“And there is no front entrance,” Smith said, adding that adding one should cost upwards of $46,000.

There is also no money for a reception area, he said, at another $8,000, and there is a leak in the terra-cotta tile around the exterior of the building, which is causing damage to new drywall. That repair, he said, is expected to cost upwards of $20,000.

The group also needs “cabling for technology” at another $26,000

But an allotment of an additional $300,000, Smith said, will “allow the building to open” this summer as originally planned and protect, through repairs, the money already invested.

RDC members, however, expressed frustration over what they felt was a lack of communication from officials overseeing the project. Since the RDC committed its original $330,000 to the project, no one, Smith said, has been back to give them any kind of an update.

And getting accurate information has been somewhat difficult.

RDC member Marc McNeece said someone should have been before elected officials long ago when the project came in overbid and had to be scaled back.

“Someone should have come to us and said, 'You're not going to get the project you signed on for. Are you willing to go ahead?'” McNeece said.