August 19, 2013 9:26:15 AM
Columbus councilmen will determine Tuesday which architectural/engineering firm will renovate the Trotter Convention Center and how much money they'll receive to do the project.
As of press time, Trotter committee officials could not confirm who would be awarded the contract, but committee member and councilman Bill Gavin said in recent conversations he's had with other members, the firm selected would receive about five percent of the project's estimated $2 million cost, or $100,000. J5/Broaddus, the firm the city recently picked for project management services, would receive six percent, which amounts to $120,000. Another two-to-three percent would need to be factored in for bond attorneys, Gavin said. In total, that would add 13-to-14 percent to the initial project cost.
Bryan Brown & Associates, the firm initially selected to do the work, has withdrawn from the project.
Chief operations officer David Armstrong said he needed to discuss the contract with councilmen before he could reveal the firm's identity or financial details of the contract.
"The committee has made a decision and we have a proposal to make to the council on Tuesday," Armstrong said.
Gavin, a drafting and design instructor at East Mississippi Community College, said with the current budget, it's probable the firm would not be able to complete every item on the city's list of desired improvements, which includes installing a new sound system, a new elevator from the Second Avenue North entrance and Wi-Fi access. The list also included upgrading the restrooms and lighting as well as outside improvements including new copper awnings, restrooms in the courtyard and benches.
"It's going to boil down to the committee making some decisions on some certain things," he said. "I would go through and do the inside renovations first. I'd do the painting, the carpet, the lighting fixtures and redo the bathrooms and plumbing fixtures. Those are things we could handle in house. Then ...we could do the new sound system, and what we had left after we accomplished that could give the city a better guide of... can we do the facade? Can we do the exterior restrooms or the elevator?"
Funding for the project comes from a 20-year in-lieu tax agreement with Columbus Light & Water. The city will pay back $200,000 a year for 20 years.
The council will meet 3 p.m. at the municipal complex.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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