There’s always a first in journalism and today was my first look at a construction bid opening. That was the case at the NDSU Memorial Union with the Bison Sports Arena renovation. In short, I can tell you this: nobody really knew late this afternoon if the bids came in low enough and we may not know for at least another week.
Architect Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects and Interiors of Fargo spent an hour and a half reading sealed bids from construction, seating, mechanical and electrical companies. Before reading the first bid for the general contracting of the project, Stroh made it clear “that we won’t make any decisions today.” ”The firm will sift through a litany of alternate bids associated with each company’s dollar figure. For instance, certain segments of a bid contained deductions if the project needed to find a cost-containment measure.
“That’s something we do a lot of today,” Stroh said, “because it’s always difficult to guess at what if we did this or what if we did that? It’s always easier to make a decision if you have a number in front of you. A lot of times it’s a combination of ads and deducts.”
Gast Construction from Fargo had the low overall general contracting bid at $20.81 million. Hussey Seating from North Berwick, Maine had the low bid for seating at $1.498,600. Grants Mechanical of Fargo had the low bid for mechanical work at $6,991,631 and Rickard Electric from Fargo had the low electrical bid at $6.17 million.
The North Dakota legislature approved the project for $35.4 million. NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said in July that if bids come in at over the amount, it may be back to the drawing board. After the bids were revealed Thursday, Taylor said he did not have enough information to make any kind of comment.
If the low bid from each of the four forks of the project were added up, it would come to slightly over $70,000 over of what the state legislature allotted. But there are several other factors that go into the bid process before any decision can be made, Stroh said.