Multi-million dollar Edmond Tennis Center project delayed

BY STEVE GUST FOR THE OKLAHOMAN

EDMOND — With construction bids much higher than expected, Edmond city and school officials have temporarily hit the brakes on building a new multi-million dollar tennis facility.

At stake is a new tennis center to be located near 15th and Kelly. Earlier this year both the Edmond Public Schools and the City of Edmond signed an agreement to legally partner on the center. The project was budgeted to cost an estimated $14 million. The city has already spent $2.5 million to purchase the land.

Yet when the construction work was recently put out for bid, the estimates came in well over the $14 million mark. The lowest was from HGL Construction at $16.9 million, nearly $3 million more. The most expensive was Wynn Construction at almost $20 million or $6 million more.

Edmond Schools Superintendent Bret Towne and Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb both believe some of the extra cost may be attributed to international politics, specifically higher tariffs.

"Some of the builders may be anticipating higher steel costs," Lamb said. Towne agreed and added another reason: "Drywall and steel wall stud cost increases are being driven from Hurricane Harvey repairs and renovations in Texas's costal region."

The powerful hurricane hit Texas last August causing widespread damage.

On Wednesday, during a special Edmond School Board of Education meeting, district construction supervisor Jason Ferguson recommended denying all bids due to the price. The five-member school board followed suit and rejected the bids.

Ferguson said the school will now consult with the city to see what changes can be made to lower the cost. Talks have already begun with the city, he said. Plans originally called for 10 indoor and 25 outdoor courts. There were also designs for locker rooms, offices and meeting rooms. Towne and Lamb both thought the number of indoor courts may be scaled back due to costs.

Yet both sides are still determined to see the new tennis center built.

"We (City of Edmond) own the land and are committed to this," Mayor Lamb said.

Ferguson said the project would probably not be put out for bids again until next month or possibly September. Acceptance of such a bid probably wouldn't be until October, the school official added. From there it would be 12 to 16 months for the center to be built.

Until the new center is ready, Ferguson said the city will keep open the Kickingbird Tennis Center on Danforth.

Tennis is popular with Edmond's high schools as the programs routinely compete for state team and individual titles. Officials also hope to eventually host many meets at the new center.

Courtesy of www.newsok.com

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