Aldermen approve first bid for convention center construction

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2000

The Natchez Board of Aldermen awarded bids for the first construction phase of the downtown convention center Tuesday night.

Reeves Contracting Company of Pearl presented the lowest bid at $112,500 for bid package No. 1 of the project.

The package includes the drilling and placement of in-cast footings, which will provide the foundational support for the center, to be located on an already-cleared lot between Main and Franklin and Canal and Wall streets.

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Carothers Construction Co. is managing construction on the convention center, one of three projects that make up the Convention Center Complex.

Last year, the city borrowed $12 million in bond funds for all three projects, including a community center and renovations to the Natchez City Auditorium.

The community center, located in the old Natchez Motor Co. building on Franklin Street, is already completed.

Aldermen awarded three bid packages for the auditorium renovations last month which totaled $934,775. The city had estimated the project would cost about $1.25 million.

At Tuesday’s meeting, architect Johnny Waycaster presented the construction management committee’s recommendation to accept the winning bid from Reeves Contracting over five other bids that were offered. Waycaster said the original estimate for the bid package was $119,000, a difference that will save the city more than $6,500.

As part of the bid package, the winning bidder agrees to complete the project within 45 days. With the board’s approval, Waycaster said the convention center project is on schedule for an October 2001 grand opening.

Mayor-Elect F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith, who has said he would like to see a feasibility study for constructing the convention center downtown, attended Tuesday’s meeting but had no comment on the board’s action. Smith has said if the study supports building the center downtown, he will stand behind construction.

Aldermen also granted approval for the advertisement of the next phase of the project, a multi-package bid which will include the &uot;bulk of the work,&uot; Waycaster said.

Other bids submitted to the board for the first phase of construction were:

4 R.A. Edgin Construction Company of Natchez, for $119, 844

4 R.L. Blanton Construction Company of Natchez, for $124,000

4 Benchmark Construction Company of Jackson, for $135,429

4 Dozer Inc. of Natchez, for $125,000

4 Georgetown Construction Company of Natchez, for $115,000.