After bids exceed estimates, Baldwin City looking to reduce cost of planned outdoor community center

photo by: Elvyn Jones/Journal-World File Photo

This file photo shows the empty lot in the 700 block of High Street in Baldwin City, known as the "Lotatorium." It is the proposed site for an outdoor community center project.

A project to build an outdoor community center in downtown Baldwin City, once expected to start this month, has been delayed after construction bids came in more than $400,000 over what was expected.

Baldwin City Councilman David Simmons said the city opened bids last month for the outdoor community center project, which would occupy the empty city-owned lot in the 700 block of High Street known as the “Lotatorium.” Kansas City, Mo., architecture firm BG Consultants developed plans to build restrooms, a splash deck water feature and a stage on the site. Other planned features included sidewalks and a large TV for community viewing.

Loyd Builders, of Ottawa, was the low bidder on the project, but its bid of $1.1 million was more than the $670,000 the city had set aside, Simmons said.

To get the project done, the city is revising its plans for the Lotatorium space. Baldwin City Councilman Brian Cramer said the city has been working with Loyd Builders and an architect with BG Consultants to trim the cost of the project. The contractor and architect have identified cuts that could reduce the cost by $150,000, he said.

The proposed changes would replace the roof that was originally planned for the stage with a canopy and would eliminate the stage’s dressing rooms, Cramer said. The area of the stage will stay the same as in the original plans, he said — at least 25 by 30 feet. However, under the new plans, the stage would move from the north-central area of the Lotatorium to the northwest side, closer to the Lumberyard Arts Center.

Although some of the Lotatorium elements had to be downsized, the plans for the park still have all the features Baldwin City residents said they wanted when surveyed last year, Simmons said.

“The bids were a lot more than we expected,” Simmons said. “I am disappointed in that, but not in the work that went into developing the plans. We still have $670,000 to work with. We might not end up with all the bells and whistles, but it will still be a nice downtown gathering place.”

Cramer said the new plans will be available for public viewing at the next meeting of the Baldwin City Council’s community development committee at 7 a.m. Thursday in Baldwin City Hall. If the new plans realize the needed savings, he said, the Baldwin City Council would probably consider approving them in July, and construction could start in August.


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