City postpones decision on aquatic center construction contract

aquatic center rendering

The City Commission voted unanimously to postpone award of the construction contract for the new indoor aquatics and recreation center to their Nov. 2 meeting.

The city received four bids that were opened Oct. 13.

The bids ranged from $17.9 million to $19.6 million for the base bid but there are 22 alternatives, that City Manager said at least some of those will be necessary to the success of the project, nor does it leave room for contingency funding.

Staff asking commission to postpone award of aquatic center contract for more review time

“It’s not a great time to be bidding projects of this scope,” Doyon said during the Oct. 19 commission meeting.

The city has started on the water main relocation in Lions Park ahead of full construction, which has been pushed to spring, but Doyon said there are still supply chain and labor shortages, as well as other COVID related challenges.

The project is an estimated $20 million, being funded with a $10 million grant from the U.S. Defense Department that will be matched with $10 million from the city, through the park maintenance district.

Doyon said staff has discussed the bids with the DoD office that oversees the grant program and is working with their staff and city staff to review the bids and funding options and bring a contract recommendation to the commission.

The new indoor aquatics and recreation center will be about 45,000 square feet of new construction and include a recreation pool, lap pool, gym, fitness center, walking track, multipurpose room, party room, locker rooms, sauna, restrooms, child watch area and more.

The need for an indoor aquatics and recreation center was identified in the 2016 Park and Recreation Master Plan that was adopted by the commission in November 2016.

The center will have fees for use, and will also meet training needs for Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard, but will be owned and operated by the Great Falls Park and Recreation Department.

The new facility will replace the Natatorium that was closed by the city several years ago and City Manager Greg Doyon has said that once the new facility is open, he will recommend closing the city’s existing recreation center downtown.

The new facility has been designed by LPW Architecture with TD&H Engineering.

For background on the project, see our previous coverage:

City breaks ground on indoor aquatics, recreation center

City planning aquatic center groundbreaking for Sept. 15

City considering water main contract for aquatic center on Aug. 17

DoD finds no violation in city process for aquatic center

City budget approved; work on aquatics center continuing

Commissioners approve permit, aggregation and vacating streets for aquatics center

Commission holding public hearings on portions of aquatic center project during May 18 meeting

City Commission sets public hearing on permit for aquatics facility

City Commission scheduled to set public hearing on new aquatic center during April 20 meeting

City planning board unanimously recommends permit approval for aquatic center in Lions Park

City to receive $20 million in COVID funds; aquatic center plan updated; GFPD chief replacement process underway; Civic Center facade contract pushed to April 6

City, design team update neighborhood on aquatics facility plans

City continuing plans on aquatics center for Lions Park

Park Board supports aquatics center move to Lions; discusses visitor center lease, legislation that could impact park maintenance district

City proposes Lions Park as new site for aquatics facility

City pushes hearing on land swap for aquatics facility to Jan. 19

City, GFPS land swap on commission agenda for aquatics facility

City looking into options to adjust aquatics center due to high foundation costs

City awards aquatics facility design contract to LPW/TD&H

City Commission set to select design for aquatics facility on Oct. 13

City received 10 proposals for aquatics center design; will interview top 3

City seeking proposals for aquatics project

City has been awarded $10 million grant for indoor aquatics facility