Pool bid comes in $700K over budget

Published 11:34 pm Sunday, January 8, 2017


NATCHEZ — The Liberty Road swimming pool has hit a potential setback, as leaders will have to mull spending approximately $700,000 more than budgeted or potentially have the pool open later than summer.

The Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission announced Friday at a joint meeting between school, county and city leaders the recreation board received three bids on the pool.

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The lowest bid came in at $1.67 million from Wilmar Construction of Vidalia. Recreation Chair Tate Hobdy said even with paring down some of the options, the project would still cost $1.4 million.

The project was supposed to be $1 million, with the City of Natchez Aldermen spending $500,000 and Adams County Supervisors making up the other $500,000.

The other option, Hobdy said, would be to split the proposal up into two contracts, one for the pool and the other for the service building on the site. Hobdy said smaller contractors were not able to bid on the project because they either couldn’t handle building the pool or constructing the service building.

However, if that option were selected, 50 days would pass before bids would come back and Hobdy said the pool would not likely be built in time for summer use, as is currently planned.

Supervisor President Mike Lazarus said he was upset because the supervisors only have $500,000 set aside for this.

“Did anyone do any homework when you approached us with this $500,000 number?” Lazarus said. “We set aside money based on that $500,000. To come back now asking for more, I don’t know where we will get it.”

Hobdy said the service building is approximately where the recreation board estimated it would be — $400,000. However, the bulk of the overage is in the pool itself.

Hobdy said he believed the reason was because the pool did not receive a lot of competitive bidding.

While no decision was made, several aldermen and supervisors leaned toward rebidding the project.

On the other hand, Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis argued officials have told people the pool would be complete by summer and leaders should try and find the money.

Arceneaux-Mathis said the original plan called for a pool and the multipurpose fields. The fields are built, but also had an overage, $30,000 in this case due to an initial engineering calculation mistake on materials.

While she is not against basketball, Arceneaux-Mathis said the Dominique Wilkins basketball court could be put on hold, which would free up $225,000.

A figure for upkeep on the pool has not been decided yet, but Arceneaux-Mathis said money would be saved that could potentially go toward construction, if the school system would agree to pay the maintenance for the first year.

Natchez-Adams School District Superintendent Fred Butcher said he could get with his finance department to see if the school system paying the upkeep in year one would be feasible, once the recreation commission has an estimate for upkeep presented.

Hobdy said if the school system would allow NASD maintenance employees to also work at the pool, money could be saved.

School Board member Phillip West asked if each board could form a two-person committee to meet with recreation leaders to make a decision. Hobdy said he’d look to send out communications to schedule a meeting today.

Hobdy said the pool would be heated, which will enable use 9 months out of the year. Hobdy said down the road, for an additional $75,000, a cover could be purchased which would enable year-round usage.