Firms submit bids for ice arena

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 11, 2002

Eight construction firms are vying for the chance to build Austin's new ice facility and renovate Riverside Arena.

Who will win?

That won't be decided until Monday's City Council meeting.

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According to Tom Dankert, Austin's director of administrative services, the eight bidders are Graystone Construction, who submitted a base bid of $3.82 million; J.D. Driver of Rose Creek, with a bid of $3.84 million; Knutson Construction, who bid $3.65 million; Larson Contracting, Inc., with a base bid of $3.94 million; Met-Con Construction, with a bid of $4.6 million; Schroeder-Leverington, Inc., who bid $3.5 million; Joseph Company of Austin, who submitted a base bid of $3.59 million; and Wagner Construction Co. of Austin, who bid $3.62 million.

The bidding opened and closed Tuesday and Dankert says city engineer Jon Erichson and Denny Maschka, the Austin Park and Recreation Department director, will evaluate the base bids and the bids for alternative projects and will come up with a recommendation to the council for Monday's meeting.

The bidding process brings the project one step closer to completion after years of planning and controversy.

Austin City Administrator Patrick McGarvey says, "Starting back as far as '97 or '98, there was discussion about the project. Nothing real serious, just, 'Should we? Can we? Where is the money going to come from?'"

In early 1999, McGarvey says, the county decided to construct a multi-purpose building with two sheets of ice at the fairgrounds. An architect was hired and plans were drawn, but "the bids came in way over budget and the county decided to shut 'er down," McGarvey explains.

When the county withdrew from the project last year, the city picked it up and scaled it back to renovations of Riverside Arena and construction of a building with one sheet of ice on land donated by Hormel Foods, Inc.

Originally, the project timeline slated contract approval for the first city council meeting in April, and digging to begin April 15 so the arena could be open Nov. 27.

Now, Erichson says "We're looking at having ice in there approximately Dec. 4. The schedule is pretty consistent with what it has been."

Call Amanda L. Rohde at 434-2214 or e-mail her at