Preliminary cost estimates may indeed be going up at the proposed hockey arena, but the City Council isn't too worried about it.

In light of the new numbers released earlier this week, showing an additional $1.5 million in site development - bringing total project costs on the arena up to $51.6 million - most council members say the cost is necessary and unlikely to continue rising."When you build something, you want it to withstand the test of time," Councilman Russ Brooks said. "You want to have people be awed and proud of it 50 years, 100 years from now. We were stripping costs so much to the point that maybe it would not have been the kind of facility you would want to have. We've just put some things back."

The need for more soil pilings and concrete reinforcement on the soft-soil site is credited with driving the cost of site development up. An early miscommunication between city officials and Kansas City-based HOK architects on just what "site development" is caused the problem.

West Valley City thought site development included landscaping, public walkways, lighting and assorted other aesthetic designs. The city was informed last month that site development, in fact, includes everything outside the arena's front door, City Manager John Patterson said.

"Construction costs have gone sky-high. I think ($1.5 million) is low, actually," at-large Councilwoman Margaret Peterson said. "We didn't get as much as we thought from the Legislature and we had to increase the bonding.

We've done everything we could to keep (the costs) low."

While Peterson admits she is "not real happy to see the increase," she added that costs had "better not" rise any more because financing is already in place.

"Taxpayers are not liable for any of these bonds. They are privately placed," Peterson reiterated.

When contacted earlier in the week, many council members said they couldn't discuss the numbers because they were unaware of when they had changed or not well-enough informed to comment on where the changes had occurred.

"We're being kept up to date and that's what's important," Councilwoman Janice Fisher said. "John (Patterson) keeps us informed at all times. We're basically aware that things are happening almost daily."

After a Thursday study meeting of the council, Councilman Duane Moss, however, refused to say when he'd learned of the $1.5 million increase. Other council members said they were aware of the change from 10 days ago to three weeks ago.

"(Our staff, architects and financial advisers are) trying desperately to keep the costs down. They're negotiating different items," said Fisher, who has sat in on many of the arena planning sessions. "We just need to keep moving on the get the project finished in time."

Brooks said the biggest difference between planning for the arena eight months ago and planning now is accepting the absolute minimum in amenities and deciding exactly what city officials want to have and feel comfortable spending.

"In this arena people will be able to hear the words, see the action and be a part of what's going on. We don't want it to be something we can't get people to come into. We need it to be a profitable venture for the city to be involved in," Brooks said.

"We feel we're putting a major facility in here for the Wasatch Front area and the state of Utah to enjoy. We haven't come back to the citizens of West Valley City (to ask for more money.)"