Convention Center on track for June construction start

Tribune-Star/Howard GreningerMembers of the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board prepare for discussion on a construction schedule for a new downtown convention center. The project is slated to be put out for bid by March 20.

Construction of a new downtown Terre Haute convention center is slated to be bid by March 20, said Steve Bauer, vice president of construction services for the Nations Group.

Bauer Wednesday told the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board that Garmong Construction Services, construction manager on the project, will have final design plans from CSO Architects by March 15. After the meeting, he said it would likely be March 20 when the project is let for bids. 

The construction bids will be opened and a contract awarded by the board prior to June, when construction is slated to start.

Utility relocations must first be undertaken, with the largest task of relocating a 16-inch water main for Indiana American Water, Bauer said after the meeting. That cost is estimated at $600,000.

Bauer said the estimate from the water utility seems high and the actual cost could be lower By law, the utility cannot make a profit from the relocation but will invoice the CIB for actual expenses. 

Some other utility costs include $28,750 for Intelligent Fiber Network to relocate a fiber line under the convention center garage; $24,386 from Frontier to relocate a TelData line at Eighth Street; about $40,000 for another TelData line for Windstream; as well as $39,024 for Duke Energy. Vectren is relocating a natural gas line without cost as the cost will be offset from future revenue.

Bauer said the CIB may also get no charge from Duke Energy.

"The analysis done by Duke Energy of the future revenues that they will make off of the convention center building will more than offset that construction cost and we may get that money returned," Bauer said.

Additionally, a Phase II environmental study is to be done by Patriot Engineering and Environmental Inc. on the downtown building site.

"The report will identify certain areas where the contractor needs to be aware of when excavating. Obviously if we find anything that is environmentally sensitive, we will call the environmental remediation teams to analyze it and determine what needs to be done," Bauer said, adding the convention center project remains on schedule.

Brian Bosma, of Kroger, Gardis & Regas, attorneys for the CIB, told the board that any time there is construction in an area with a long history, there "are going to be environmental concerns. The convention center area has been developed since about 1880 and has been everything from a brewery to an oil field to tannery and a dry cleaner," Bosma said. 

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.