Harrison County

Mississippi Aquarium bids delayed a third time

Acrylic walls are one of the design features of The Mississippi Aquarium in downtown Gulfport. PGAV Destinations of St. Louis, Mo., designed the aquarium with assistance from Coast architectural firm Eley Guild Hardy. PGAV is a leading designer of aquariums and theme parks.
Acrylic walls are one of the design features of The Mississippi Aquarium in downtown Gulfport. PGAV Destinations of St. Louis, Mo., designed the aquarium with assistance from Coast architectural firm Eley Guild Hardy. PGAV is a leading designer of aquariums and theme parks. Courtesy of PGAV

The opening of bids has been delayed a third time for construction of The Mississippi Aquarium, billed as the Coast’s biggest coming tourist attraction.

Aquarium Director David Kimmel says contractors must now submit bids by 2 p.m. Oct. 12 for aquarium construction. The original date for bids was Sept. 22, moved to Sept. 26 and then to Sept. 28, bid documents show.

Elements of the bid package have changed with each move, the documents show. Kimmel said the construction budget is still $56 million.

He said bids were most recently delayed because prospective contractors had a number of questions at the last minute.

“But the important thing is that the bidders have all the answers they need to give us a good bid,” he said.

Kimmel said he would not speculate on how many bids will be received for the project, which has a total budget of $93 million, including an acquisition of animals for aquarium exhibits.

Kimmel said he still expects the aquarium to open in the spring of 2019.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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