10/03/08 — Community Recreation Center to be put out for bids soon

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Community Recreation Center to be put out for bids soon

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 3, 2008 1:46 PM

Contractors take notice -- the 60,000-square-foot Community Recreation Center project will soon be put out for bid.

City staff and Recreation Center Committee members met briefly Thursday morning, Oct. 2, to give construction firm R.N. Rouse & Co., who is doing consulting work for the project, the go-ahead to move forward in advertising the project to contractors for bids.

The company has been preparing pre-qualification documents -- the set of guidelines that contractors and subcontractors must meet, including background checks, to be pre-qualified to submit bids for the project -- and city officials have been making sure that all of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements that make the city eligible to use Community Development Block Grant funds for the project have been filled.

Bids are likely to be awarded in February, pushing the construction start date toward the spring season.

R.N. Rouse & Co. representatives believe the project will take around 18 months to complete, once construction begins -- a time period that is longer based on the complexity of the building, pool area and outdoor memorial fountain.

Last month, City Manager Joe Huffman believed the project would be completed by February 2010, but now city officials expect completion to be more toward fall of 2010.

The construction price is still around $12 million, but the overall cost is estimated to be closer to $14 million once furniture, exercise equipment and architectural and consulting fees are added in.

A positive on the price end for the city is that Huffman and other officials believe the bids will likely come in cheaper than they would have before, with the economy at a decline and a subsequent lack of construction work.

"We anticipate that the project bids will be competitive since there appears to be a shortage of work for construction companies," he said.

City officials are ready to move forward with the project, one that they believe will enhance the community.

"I think this project will go a long way toward providing recreational opportunities for diverse groups in the community," Huffman said. "I think that our youth, professional adults, retired citizens and others will be able to enjoy the many components the facility will offer."

Officials also are looking into hiring a consulting firm that would estimate the annual operating costs of the facility, so they have a better idea of how to budget for both the short and long term.

So far, the city has spent $214,600 of the $267,902 in CDBG funds allocated for fiscal year 2007-08 for architectural services for the recreation center.

The rest of those funds and other CDBG funds left over from previous years add up to about $280,000.

Add that to the $436,306 CDBG funds projected to be spent on the project in fiscal year 2008-09, and that's $537,325 in CDBG funds available for the project.

The leftover money, about $100,000, will be used toward the project next year.