By JOSH NEWTON
Tahlequah city councilors this week awarded two contracts worth a total of more than $2 million for the new aquatics center, one of several projects covered under this year’s passage of a capital improvements project.
Capri Pools and Aquatics, of St. Louis, Mo., was the lowest bidder for the pool package at a total of just over $1 million. Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols said Capri Pools and Aquatics also designed a near-identical pool package in Sapulpa.
“I’ve seen the plans for this, and it’s very exciting,” said Ward 4 Councilor Linda Spyres.
Architects estimated the pool package would cost the city more than $1.3 million with some alternative items. Nichols said because the city over-budgeted, around $200,000 will be set aside for other needs that could arise during construction of the pool.
“We’re going to keep the $200,000 attached to the pool for the time being, in case there’s a need for additional blasting or other technical problems we might run into during construction,” said Nichols.
If the additional funds aren’t necessary for construction of the pool, Nichols said the city intends to transfer the $200,000 to the West Fourth Street project, which will cost more than was budgeted under the capital improvements project.
The new pool will be built at the city’s sports complex on West Allen Road.
“It’s simply too big [to be built where the existing pool is located],” said Nichols. “And there are some floodplain considerations that weren’t in existence when the original pool was built that we now have to account for.”
Councilors also awarded a contract to Williams Contracting, out of Muskogee, for the pool’s building and site design. The total contract for the building and site work is just over $1 million, and includes an alternative purchase of a metal standing-seam roof.
Councilors opted not to purchase two other alternative items – picnic tables and pool deck lighting – which were included in the bids.
Melissa Harris, the city’s recreation coordinator, said the city can purchase those items at a smaller cost and likely use local businesses.
Both contractors estimate a 220-day time frame for completion of the pool projects. Nichols said the city expects to open the new pool next June.
Other projects under way
City officials have awarded Zenith Construction Co. with a $376,000 contract for renovations and a small expansion of the Tahlequah Public Library.
Zenith was the second-lowest bidder.
Williams Contracting was the lowest bidder at $352,000, but estimated it would take nine months to complete the library work, so councilors chose to use Zenith, which expects to complete its work in four months.
Williams Contracting was chosen for the renovation of the old armory center on West Choctaw. That facility will become the new home of the Tahlequah Police Department and city jail, along with Tahlequah-Cherokee County Emergency Management.
The renovations for the future PD will cost nearly $1.1 million, including a roof, exterior brick work, and renovations of the facility.
Roof work will begin ahead of other renovations at the facility, and Nichols said the roof is expected to take 190 days.
Other renovations are expected to be complete within nine months.
Bids have been requested for a small widening project on East Fourth Street, from Muskogee Avenue to the bottom of the bridge.
Engineering work is still being completed for the West Fourth Street project; surveying has been completed for the South Muskogee widening project; and surveying has started for road projects on Bluff Avenue and North Grand Avenue.
The city has also ordered compressed-natural-gas trucks for the solid waste department. Those trucks are expected to arrive in January.