Newport city officials today opened bids from contractors, all vying to build Newport’s new $8 million dollar Aquatic Center and parking improvements behind Newport City Hall. And it was close. Only six thousand dollars between the bottom two low bidders. $8.310 million from Pavilion Construction, a mega-construction company covering the western U.S., and $8.316 million from another company.
But it’s going to be up to the city council to figure out which company will get the green light and the contract to build it. The migrating state of the American economy from when the pool was designed to the day the bids were opened this week has changed things quite a bit.
The city was hoping to get everything for around $8 million – tops. But an improving economy has driven up the cost of most major construction projects, so it would be harder to add on the “channel river” that runs through the aquatic center, the enclosed walkway from the recreation center to the pool, and a sidewalk that runs the full length of 10th, for added parking. The Newport City Manager, Public Works Director, City Finance Director and Parks and Recreation Director will pow-wow next week to hash-out where the city can come up with enough reserves to not only get the pool built, but also get at least the channel river aspect installed. NewsLincolnCounty.com was told you can’t add the flowing channel to the facility later. It’s got to go in right up front. Then later, if the city wants, they can add the covered outdoor walkway and the sidewalk when the money’s found.
City Public Works Director Tim Gross told News Lincoln County that if the city can swing the deal using some inter-department fund transfers, that proposal could come before the city council on August 17th, during which the whole package would be laid out and the council would declare the winning bidder.
Once that happens, Gross says construction of the new pool could begin in early September with completion about a year after that.