Anchorage-based Criterion General, Inc. will construct the Soldotna field house for an estimated $14.1 million following approval of the contract by Soldotna City Council members last week.
Award of the contract comes roughly three months after the city received a higher-than-expected cost estimate for the project, which jumped by about $10 million from last year.
In all, the city received five bids by the end of August for the project, ranging in estimates from $14.1 million to $16 million. The lowest bid came from Anchorage’s Criterion General Inc., to which the city awarded the contract.
Soldotna Public Works Director Kyle Kornelis said Monday that some of the cost reduction efforts the city employed were successful and that the bidding climate was favorable. Therefore, he said, the large amount of contingency funds that the city had previously budgeted for was not needed.
Kornelis said the city will need to continue reviewing its funding strategy as more known costs come in, as “significant expenditures” remain, such as furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Soldotna voters last year gave the city permission to incur up to $15 million in debt to pay for the project. Per the resolution, the scope of work described by the contract includes construction of a 40,500-square-foot building with a running track, utility services, paved parking and landscaping.
City staff and council members during last week’s meeting celebrated both the award of the construction contract and that the associated price tag was closer to what the city had originally budgeted.
“We are very excited to be able to bring this before you for obvious reasons — to be able to complete this project and also that it is well under the engineer’s estimates and that we have the ability to award this contract financially as well,” said Soldotna City Manager Janette Bower.
Council members were equally enthused.
“For the field house to finally be coming to fruition is very, very encouraging because we have been working on this forever,” said council member Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings. “The fact that the prices came in back where we thought they should be originally — I’m even more ecstatic about that.”
Soldotna City Council meetings can be streamed on the City of Soldotna’s YouTube channel.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.