CULLOWHEE – The last major hurdle toward construction of Western Carolina University’s new Fine and Performing Arts Center has been cleared, with bids for the project coming in substantially lower than estimated.
Twenty-three firms submitted bids on the 121,000-square-foot project. The apparent lowest multi-prime bids, covering the general contract, plumbing, mechanical and electric, totaled $21,165,709, said Chuck Wooten, WCU’s vice chancellor for administration and finance.
All the bid totals are “unofficial” until certified by the project designer, but it appears the total low bids on the project are 13 percent below estimated construction costs, and the bid totals are well within funding made available for construction through the November 2000 higher education bond approved by North Carolina voters, Wooten said.
When completed, the Fine and Performing Arts Center will provide classrooms, studios, galleries and support space for students majoring in the arts and humanities, and a 1,000-seat hall for music and theatrical performances. University officials see the project as a cornerstone in the university’s and region’s efforts to grow and develop, particularly in the area of cultural tourism.
Hickory Construction Co. Inc. of Hickory was the apparent low bidder for the general contract, with a bid of $14,185,500, including 24 alternates. Other bidders on the general contract, including the same alternates, were Miller Building Co. of Raleigh, $14,199,000; Crossley Construction Corp. of Knoxville, Tenn., $14,865,995; C Construction Co. Inc. of Jacksonville, $15,069,700; Rentenbach Constructors Inc. of Greensboro, $15,123,000; Whiting-Tuner Contracting Co. of Charlotte, $15,245,600; Edifice Inc. of Charlotte, $15,316,385; American South General Contractors Inc. of Sanford, $15,472,400; and Beers Construction Co. of Winston-Salem Inc., $15,568,150.
The apparent low bidder on plumbing was Price & Price Mechanical of NC Inc. of Arden, with a bid of $997,000, with other bids received from Mountain Plumbing and Mechanical Inc. of Andrews, $1,083,000; Piping Plumbing Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Harrisburg, $1,117,000; Bolton Corp. of Asheville, $1,128,000; Haynes Heating and Cooling Co. of Asheville, $1,152,350; and Bethel Valley Mechanical Inc. of Canton, $1,168,833.
The apparent low bidder on mechanical (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) work was Martin Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Hendersonville, with a bid of $3,528,314, including three alternates. A second bid of $3,563,000, including the three alternates, was received from Price & Price Mechanical of NC Inc.
The apparent low bidder on electrical work, including two alternates, was Emory Electric Inc. of Asheville, with a bid of $2,454,895. Other bidders on electrical work, including the same alternates, were Haynes Electric Construction Co. of Asheville, $2,531,050; H.R. Allen Inc. of Piedmont, S.C., $2,707,500; Hayes & Lunsford Electrical Contractors Inc. of Asheville, $2,962,100; Brevard Electric Co. of Horse Shoe, $3,192,400; and Encompass Electrical Technologies of Wilson, $4,062,300.
Single prime general construction bids, covering the general contract, plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, were received from five companies. The uncertified bid totals were Crossley Construction Corp., $21,681,040; Rentenbach Constructors Inc., $22,264,500; Beers Construction Co. of Winston-Salem Inc., $22,785,950; Whiting-Tuner Contracting Co., $23,012,800; and American South General Contractors Inc., $23,028,700.
Project bids were opened Wednesday, Oct. 3.
The designer for the Fine and Performing Arts Center is Graham Gund Architects of Cambridge, Mass. Construction is expected to get under way by January 2002, and the estimated project completion date is September 2003.