EFFINGHAM — Following bids coming in nearly $4 million higher than projected, no final bid was awarded for the construction of the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center at Wednesday night's Effingham Park District meeting.
At the closing of the bid-letting on June 24, the lowest bid was read at $16,342,000 by Poettker Construction, located in Breese, Ill.
“We had always projected the project somewhere in the $12.5 million range,” said Park District President David McDevitt. “That was substantially higher than anticipated.”
McDevitt described the initial feeling of the high bid as a “punch to the gut,” but after consulting with those involved in the project, he is more optimistic about its future. Holabird and Root, the engineering firm that is working with the park district on the project, is consulting with Poettker Construction about associated material costs.
“Based upon our preliminary efforts, we are going to be able to significantly decrease the costs,” said McDevitt.
Cheaper materials, which include windows, railing, siding, etc., are being re-figured into the cost of the project, said McDevitt.
In conjunction with reducing the material cost, park district officials are working with major donors of the project.
“Simultaneously, our steering committee is continuing our fundraising efforts, including numerous discussions with many major donors, primarily Dr. Rick Workman, who continues to support the project,” said McDevitt. “What we are going to try to do is meet in the middle by raising more money and lowering costs.”
McDevitt said if overall cost can be lowered to approximately $14.5 million, he believes the project can move forward. The initial funds available for the project were as follows: a $5 million donation from Dr. Richard Workman, approximately $3 million in business and community donations, and $4.5 million in debt certificates by the park district.
“If we can still get it down significantly and raise more money, we still anticipate being able to award this bid in August,” said McDevitt.