New details of convention center released

Submitted photoConcept: A conceptual rendering of what a new free-standing convention center could look like in downtown Terre Haute was presented to the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board in June. This is not a final design.

An architectural contract approved by the Vigo County Capital Improvement Board today gives a glimpse of the scope of a new downtown convention center in Terre Haute.

The Vigo County Capital Improvement Board approved a more than $1.6 million contract with Indianapolis-based CSO Architects for design, construction documents and construction administration services.

Among the details: 

- The center is to be approximately 35,000 square-feet, with about 18,000 square feet of meeting space and 17,000 square feet of support space. 

- The project is to have between 650 and 700 parking spaces in two structured parking garages. The contract could be $65,000 lower if alternate bids for precast parking garages are selected. 

- The project will be bounded by north Ninth Street to the east, north Seventh Street to the west, Wabash Avenue to the south and Cherry Street to the north. The project will require vacating  North Eighth Street, according to the project scope document.

- The streetscape in front of any property included will be designed with this project. Streetscape work will be bid separately.

Documents also say the convention center will be connected, if possible, to an existing and possibly a future hotel on the site. "The hotels will be by others," according to the project scope details listed in the contract, which was revised  Aug. 3.

Steve Bauer, vice president of construction services for Nations Group LLC, said six firms attended a pre-submittal meeting in early August on a request for proposals to be a construction manager. Bauer told the board three proposals were submitted on Tuesday, the deadline for submissions.

The Capital Improvement Board's finance committee met after the board meeting in an executive session to review the proposals.

CIB Attorney Brian Bosma said each proposal can be negotiated. The committee would then make a recommendation to be approved by the full Capital Improvement Board.

"Each of these (request for) proposals have proposed a process to achieve a guaranteed maximum price. It could be percentage of construction cost," Bosma said. 

Because there are no design plans yet, there are no bids, Bauer said.

Bosma said construction manager as constructor process works differently "than having a general contractor.

"You acquire this person who is in charge of the project," Bosma told the board. "They have to bid the project publicly. They will bid sub contractors or maybe one (general contractor) that does all the sub (contracting) work, but usually it is a sub for dry wall coverings, a sub for mechanical."

Bosma said the law allows a construction manager as a constructor to perform up to 20 percent of work on a project. 

"They have to bid publicly all the rest of the work," he said.

Steve Hunter, representative of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Indiana/Kentucky Local 4, asked if the convention center construction work for the CIB will fall under a responsible bidder ordinance. He said the the city of Terre Haute and Vigo County each have such an ordinance.

Those ordinances require a responsible bidder to meet several criteria, such as producing evidence of a federal employer taxpayer identification number or Social Security number for sole proprietors; confirm compliance with the federal Equal Opportunity Employer Provision; and submission of detailed certified weekly payrolls for contractor and subcontractor.

Bosma said the CIB is a separate governmental entity. He said he would review the ordinances, adding it would be up to the CIB to make such a determination.

"We will have to see how the ordinance plugs into that," Bosma said of the work of a construction manager as constructor.

"This is a new method of project delivery for local units of government. Universities have had it for some time," Bosma said. "This is one of the first larger projects under this statute."

The board also approved a $14,435 contract with Terre Haute-based Patriot Engineer for geotechnical engineering and a $38,280 traffic engineering contract with Indianapolis-based A&F Engineering Co. LLC.

Funding for a convention center is in place.

The Vigo County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an increase in the county's innkeeper tax from 6.5 percent to 8 percent.

The increase will allow the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau to meet its $5 million obligation toward a proposed $25 million convention center. The city of Terre Haute and Vigo County each have obligated $10 million, paid from a local income tax for economic development.

Also, the County Council in July also unanimously approved a 1 percent food and beverage tax, also aimed at supporting a new convention center. That tax, expected to generate between $1.2 million and $2.1 million annually, expires Dec. 31, 2043.

Bosma is a partner in the Indianapolis law firm of Kroger Gardis & Regas LLP. He has been retained by the CIB for legal services related to the convention center project. He also is speaker of the Indiana House.

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

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