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Mitchell pool project bids come in under budget

A Sioux Falls-based contractor supplied the lowest bid to construct Mitchell's voter-approved indoor aquatic center. On Thursday afternoon, the city of Mitchell and project designers MSH Architects opened the bids for construction of a city-owned...

One year ago Mitchell residents approved an $8 million aquatic center to be built onto the Mitchell Recreation Center. (Matt Gade / Republic)
One year ago Mitchell residents approved an $8 million aquatic center to be built onto the Mitchell Recreation Center. (Matt Gade / Republic)

A Sioux Falls-based contractor supplied the lowest bid to construct Mitchell's voter-approved indoor aquatic center.

On Thursday afternoon, the city of Mitchell and project designers MSH Architects opened the bids for construction of a city-owned indoor swimming facility that will be added onto the Mitchell Recreation Center, and Sunkota Construction, Inc. offered the most affordable option to the city at a base bid of $7,249,000.

Each bid returned to the city was lower than the $8,058,880 in funding approved by Mitchell voters by a 54-46 percent margin approximately one year ago.

The other three bidders include Sioux Falls-based GA Johnson Construction, Yankton-based WELFL Construction and Mitchell-based Puetz Corporation.

Puetz Corporation, a company which will soon wrap up its work on the Mitchell School District's $15.3 million fine arts center, supplied the second lowest base bid at a cost of $7,260,000.

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Robin Miller, of MSH, thanked the bidders for the time and effort it takes to submit a formal bid package, and the Mitchell City Council is expected to assess the project bids at its Jan. 3 meeting.

"We'll spend time evaluating these, and I suspect it'll be after Christmas before we have any feedback to give you," Miller said after the bids were opened at City Hall.

If the nine alternates are included in the construction project by the City Council, Sunkota would still have provided the lowest bid at a total of $7,798,000. With the nine alternates, Puetz would remain the second lowest bidder at $7,805,100.

The most costly alternative is a waterslide, which each potential contractor estimated would cost $260,000 or more. The second most costly alternate item are the recreational play features, which are expected to cost anywhere from $76,000 under the Sunkota bid to $82,500 under the WELFL bid.

In December 2015, Mitchell voters approved the project, including a lap pool, leisure pool, lockers, additional parking and competition equipment.

The project's funding comes from a variety of sources, including city funds, a tax on hotel room rentals in Mitchell and a $1 million pledge from the Mitchell Aquatic Club. Former Mitchell Aquatic Club President Ryan Huber, who helped champion the campaign to support the project, recently said the MAC is extremely confident it will raise the funding it pledged to the city.

The operating costs of the facility, however, were recently announced by Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell to be higher than initially expected when the project was approved by voters.

Prior to the vote, the city estimated the new facility would cost $86,620 to operate, but Powell announced at a recent council meeting that the annual cost would be closer to $137,000.

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The project is expected to be finalized by the summer of 2018.

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