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Council approves Trotter contracts


Major Andrews IV

Major Andrews IV



Nathan Gregory



Columbus councilmen on Tuesday approved the remaining contracts for renovation of the Trotter Convention Center. 


J5 Broaddus Project Manager Craig Morris informed city leaders that the firm had been able to negotiate with the low bidders for lighting and mill work projects as well as the low bidder for a combination of projects consolidated into a single package to get the project within budget.  


Councilmen unanimously approved the contracts without having them for review.  


With all contracts in place, the project costs $2,291,229. In September, the council authorized borrowing an amount not to exceed $2.5 million from the Mississippi Development Bank and using in-lieu fees from Columbus Light and Water to service the debt at approximately $225,000 a year with a 4.55 percent interest rate until it is paid off. 


J5 and project architect Major Andrews IV negotiated with Burks-Mordecai on a combination package including installation of flooring, ceiling tile, the canopy, a new sound system and the front wall. Andrews said Burks-Mordecai has agreed to do that work for $1,424,700 after its initial bid put the project at $72,000 over its budget. Andrews said Associated Architectural Products will do the mill work for $113,011. Webster Electric, whose initial bid for lighting improvements was $514,700, was talked down to $462,777, Andrews said.  


Installation of a new roof and air conditioning unit are in progress. Graham Roofing was previously awarded the contract to install a new roof for $92,533. Advanced Air Systems got the contract to install a new air conditioner and is receiving $19,208 for its services.  


J5 Broaddus is receiving $99,000 for its services while Andrews gets $80,000.  


J5 Senior Project Manager Robyn Eastman said in April that he expected the renovation to be finished in November. 




County will have to foot firing range shortfall 


Councilmen also approved contributing $203,000 it had already budgeted toward a new shooting range to support military personnel at the Columbus Air Force Base but opted not to pitch in an extra $119,709 to make up the difference from increased projected construction costs.  


On Monday, Lowndes County supervisors accepted a bid from Edge Construction of $464,318 to build berms and a fence for the range. The city and county had originally planned to do that work itself, but later decided it did not have enough manpower and equipment to do so in a timely fashion. Inflation and changes in project scope also contributed toward the project's $1,698,418 price tag, which is $300,000 more than the original budget. This meant the city and county would each have to chip in $322,709 with a $1,053,000 in state grant funding to pay for the project. With the city refusing to pay the extra $119,709, the county's match will now have to be $442,418. Supervisors will have the option to approve the increased match during their next meeting July 7. 


Councilman Charlie Box said the price tag for the range, which will be located at the old Maxim Medical building, had gone up too much for the city to feasibly provide an equal match with the county. 


"This is (Lowndes County's) grant and I know they didn't run the cost up, but the cost has astronomically gone up here," Box said. "We don't have the money the county has to reach in those deep pockets." 




Other business: 


■ The council approved a $93,923 match toward a new sidewalk connector between the Riverwalk and the soccer complex. The price tag for that project also grew from $600,000 to $667,847 with the Mississippi Department of Transportation funding $480,000 of that and the county and city splitting the rest. Kevin Stafford of engineering firm Neel-Schaffer said he would be able to negotiate with Weathers Construction to get that project down to its original cost using alternative materials, meaning the increased amount approved represents a worst case scenario and the city will likely pay less than the match it approved; 


■ The council approved changing the speed limit on Ninth Street South from 35 to 25 miles per hour; 


■ The council approved placing an all-way stop at the intersection of 10th Avenue North and Railroad Street;  


■ The council hired Brent Swan to be the captain of the criminal investigation division of the Columbus Police Department; 


■ The council appointed Mike Gibson to replace Wayne Doyle on the Board of Adjustments and Appeals. Gibson was the only applicant. His term is one year; 


■ The council re-appointed Robert Caldwell to the Columbus Housing Authority. He will serve another five-year term.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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