Centre construction contract close

University officials are very close to awarding a contract for construction of the longawaited Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre.

By Kris Foster

Greg Fowler, acting vice-president of finance and resources, said Feb. 22 that negotiations with the contractors who submitted bids on the original project tender late in 2012 have resulted in significant cost reductions, "and by early- to mid-March, we should be able to move forward with a final contract."

Four firms bid on construction of the 2,350 square metre building designed by Douglas Cardinal, but all were over budget. Fowler said the bidders were invited to seek cost reductions in their original proposals, with particular attention paid to items like masonry, landscaping and furnishings.

"Some were more enthusiastic than others," he said, but in the end, details from the contractors that were submitted to the university Feb. 19 indicate the gap has narrowed considerably. Fowler said the university officials will now work with a limited number of firms to reach an acceptable price for the building.

The architect has been closely involved in the process to ensure the final product is true to his design, Fowler said, "and we've been very diligent about maintaining the space programming proposed for the building. I'm very optimistic that we can still meet the target of opening the building in the fall of 2014."