By this time next year, a new football stadium will stand next to Gloucester High School, so long as the city receives and picks a bid to rebuild Newell Stadium.
The city formally put the $3 million stadium reconstruction project out to bid last week, and officials said Thursday that 12 construction companies and contractors – mostly from Massachusetts – have already shown interest. Bidding on the project closes Aug. 7.
Putting the project out to bid marks the latest step toward construction in the Newell Renewal effort, led by the Gloucester Fishermen’s Athletic Association (GFAA).
“We’re encouraged,” said project manager Steven Winslow
The city’s Newell Stadium bid package — a 2-inch thick, 2,000-plus page document — details the reconstruction scope, with a few alternatives tacked on, depending on how the bids come in.
At the minimum, said Winslow, the renewed Newell Stadium will include a new track, synthetic turf field, restrooms and the foundations for stadium lighting.
It will also include new, 2,250 seat home-side bleachers, and the restoration of the existing Newell Stadium gateway off Centennial Avenue. The formal Request for Proposals, or RFP, also calls for installing utilities and removing and testing the current topsoil. Newell Stadium sits on filled-in ground.
“That’s the main bulk of the work,” Winslow said.
Lights for the stadium aren’t part of that. The lighting, Winslow said, is one of several “alternate” projects — and the first on the list that the city will ask a contractor to undertake if its bid comes in under $3 million. Winslow said the city wanted first to ensure it would have a usable stadium with a set of bleachers and restrooms. The home bleachers should sit everybody, he said.
Winslow said that, in general, bids for construction projects have lately been coming in low and he’s hoping that is the case with this one, as it will allow some of the alternative projects, such as the lights and visitors’ side bleachers, to be tackled.
The city’s engineering contractor said it’s not uncommon lately to have bid around 25 percent below the city’s asking price, Winslow added.
“If it comes in around 25 percent under bid,” Winslow said, “we believe we can make some of these things happen.”
In May, City Council approved a $1.65 million loan authroization to pin down the funding for the Newell Stadium reconstruction. Without it, the project wouldn’t have been ready for bidding.
Through the authorization, the city is fronting the cost for the GFAA, which will pay it back as pledges and other fund-raising efforts come through. The city had already issued a $1.5 million bond for the stadium project, backing up private GFAA fund-praising efforts, a $500,000 grant from athletic wear maker New Balance for field naming rights, and a $500,000 state grant through the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. When the city awards the bid, whichever contractor receives it has to start by Sept. 24 and finish the turf by June 1, or suffer a fine of $10,000 a day, according to the bid documents. The contractor has to finish the project entirely by June 30, 2013, or face a fine of $1,000 a day until it is completed.
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com.