This architectural drawing shows what a new permanent main stage at the Washington Fairgrounds would look like.

Washington Park Board members Tuesday evening voted to accept the low bid on a project to construct a permanent main stage, restrooms and multipurpose facility at the city fairgrounds.

Their recommendation was forwarded to the city council, which will discuss whether or not to approve the project Monday night, March 19.

One park board member, Dan Cassette, abstained because he is a member of the Washington Town and Country Fair Board.

The city opened bids on the project March 8 and out of three contractors who submitted bids, Sieve Contractors, Inc., had the lowest base bid of $645,000.

However, the engineer’s estimate for the project was $560,000.

“The bids were higher than we hoped for, but we think the thing (facility) is still doable,” said Mark Wessels, executive president of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce.

The city budgeted $210,000 from the half-cent capital improvement sales tax fund and the Chamber initially pledged $250,000 toward the project.

After the bids were opened, Wessels said he approached the Chamber board and asked members to increase the contribution.

The Chamber board now has agreed to raise up to $335,000 over five years for the facility, Wessels informed park board members Tuesday.

Wessels said he hopes the city would be willing to increase its contribution toward the project, too.

In addition, he said he will ask the city to consider funding the project up-front and the Chamber would reimburse the city as money was raised.

Alternate Bids

The other option, Wessels said, is to “look at lessening the impact” by using alternate bids received that would reduce the base bid by excluding exterior concrete work and interior finish work.

Sieve’s alternate bid to exclude exterior concrete work is a deduction of $122,900 and its alternate bid to exclude interior finish work is a deduction of $107,500.

The other bidders are as follows:

• Demien Construction, base bid, $709,600; alternate bid to exclude exterior concrete work, $107,000 deduction; and alternate bid to exclude interior finish work, $66,900 deduction.

• Innovative Building Concepts, Inc., base bid, $655,000; alternate bid to exclude exterior concrete work, $124,732 deduction; and alternate bid to exclude interior finish work, $86,740 deduction.

It was noted previously that the Chamber and Fair Board also could look for volunteers to donate labor and find sponsors for the stage.

Wessels said Tuesday that 19 out of 20 people or groups he approached to help raise money would be able to contribute. He added that many people told him that this facility has been needed for some time.

Wessels also said the city could provide in-kind services and that Washington Engineering & Architecture developed design plans for the project at no charge.

Proponents hope that construction of the building can begin in April so it can be completed in time for this year’s Fair in August.

In addition to being used during the Fair, the facility could be used for many other things throughout the year including park department programs, car shows and other events. The parks department would be in charge of rentals of the building.

One set of restrooms accessed from the outside would be open all year-round and the other would be available for events inside. The entire facility, including the restrooms, would be handicapped accessible.

City council members will discuss how to fund the project and consider an ordinance awarding a contract during their meeting Monday night.