Biloxi looking for options as stadium bids come in high

Biloxi looking for options as stadium bids come in high

meperez@sunherald.comJuly 10, 2014 

BILOXI -- City officials are looking at how to build a baseball stadium after bids came in high Wednesday.

The issue is the cost of work already done at the site is about $9 million and the low base bid of $32.37 million submitted by W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co. put the project's cost more than the $36 million the city has to build the stadium, said Vincent Creel, Biloxi's public affairs manager.

"We have a $5 million gap right now between the amount of money we have available and what the low bid is," he said.

David Nichols, Biloxi's director of administration, is working with architect Leigh Jaunsen from Dale & Associates and project engineers to review options, he said.

"It's going to be a challenge," Creel said.

The city bid the stadium with several contingencies that could raise or lower construction costs. Creel compares this to ordering a new car, where options can be added or taken away to change the cost.

Most of the options would have increased the cost, such as installing a $1.4 million higher-tech scoreboard, Creel said. The city could save $1 million by extending the length of the contract from 300 to 365 days and $418,000 by using different seating in the suites.

The total cost savings if all the options were cut would be about $1.5 million, but that's still $3.5 million over budget.

Wharton Smith was the other bidder with a base price of $33.27 million. A third bid was never opened Wednesday because it didn't meet the bid requirements.

Biloxi already had "value engineered" the stadium to reduce costs.

"One of the things they're trying not to do is diminish fan experience," Creel said. The stadium must have 5,000 seats and facilities required by the city and the baseball team, which is expected to move to Biloxi for the 2015 season.

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