Construction bids for Morgan Hill theater higher than expected

MORGAN HILL
– Unless City Council comes up with more money when it meets
tonight, opening night for the city’s 200-seat theater might be
delayed as many as seven months.
MORGAN HILL – Unless City Council comes up with more money when it meets tonight, opening night for the city’s 200-seat theater might be delayed as many as seven months.

The project went out to bid on March 29 and the city received two bids, both of which were considerably more than the staff estimate, and one far more than the other.

Kent Construction of Gilroy is the low bidder at $2,212,213, but still 25 percent over the city’s construction estimate of $1,638,020.

DPR Construction, Inc. from San Jose, the company awarded the community center project now under way at Monterey Road and Dunne Avenue, bid $3,268,406 – more than $1 million more than Kent. Both companies could complete the work in the required time for the playhouse to stage its first play in late December.

A staff memo from Project Manager Glenn Ritter to Jim Ashcraft, the city’s director of public works, recommends awarding the contract to Kent for $2,212,213.

An alternative, the staff report said, is to re-bid within the same scope with reduced contractor qualifications, an direction fraught with uncertainties but minimum delay.

Council could also consider cost-saving options, rewrite the proposal with reduced scope and reopen the bid period, hoping for lower bids.

Either course would add from six to 28 weeks to the process.

Cost-saving options include eliminating the entire 7,000 square-foot addition to the old church building, now shrink-wrapped and up on wheels at the corner of Monterey Road and Fifth Street. Money could also be saved by removing dressing rooms and performers’ bathrooms from the plans.

If City Council chooses to take another look at the project’s scope, the theater would not be ready by the end of the year. It could, however, still be placed on its new foundation by November.

City Council meets at 7 tonight in City Hall Chambers, 17555 Peak Ave. Details: 779-7271.

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