A report originaly published Friday incorrectlly stated the total project was $9 million.
Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees has voted to move forward with a major renovation project on the stadium dedicated to Mission native and Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry while voting to delay construction on two other major projects.
Wednesday night the board voted unanimously to approve plans for a $8 million renovation of the football stadium at Mission High School and appointed a committee to seek proposals for construction. The project would replace the stadium’s approximately 9,000 seats with an equal number including about 700 seats with back rests located in the 50-yard line area of the home side of the stadium. Plans also call for building a new press box that consolidates home and visiting team coach’s boxes on the home side of the field.
Architect Eli Alvarado of Alvarado Architects and Associates said the latter move would eliminate the need for a second elevator to the visitor’s side press box. The renovations are necessary to bring seating and access up to standards of the American’s with Disabilities Act. The cost of the project includes about two million dollars in design, planning and other “soft costs.”
Plans unveiled at the hearing also include a bronze statue of Landry in front of the home team side of the stadium.
At the same hearing the board voted to reject all construction proposals for plans to build a new 53,000 square-foot administration building to replace the current one located at 1201 Bryce Drive in Mission. And they voted to reject all bids for renovation of an Olympic-sized pool.
During a school board Facilities Committee meeting Nov. 4 School Superintendent Dr. Ricardo Lopez said the construction on the administration building would be delayed for at least a year and maybe more while the district waits for more contractors to become available to bid on the project. His comment came after Assistant Superintendent for Operations Rick Rivera told members of the district’s Facilities Committee the current construction bids came in about 30-percent above what was originally budgeted.
Rivera cited some unforeseen costs that were not factored into the original budget such as the amount of time contractors said it would take to do the project, a change in building codes concerning air conditioning systems and a federal wage act that increased labor costs. He said inflation has also cut into the construction budget by about a million dollars. But Rivera said the shortage of available general and subcontractors was the main reason estimated construction costs had risen to $11.7 million at last tally, up from the $9.5 million originally budgeted in September for the proposed structure originally built as a hospital in 1953
Rivera said the city of McAllen is building hotels and a performing arts center and South Texas College has some major construction projects going on which were greatly reducing the number of available area contractors. And when the project was advertised just two bids resulted, Rivera said.
Project Architect Eddie Vela told the committee he received no responses to bid advertisements in San Antonio, Houston and national trade magazines.
“Everybody said, ‘We’re busy’. That’s the answer we’re getting,” Vela said.
“So the subcontractors that are there can basically name their own price as can the general contractors,” said Rivera. “So shelving the project until the markets become more competitive is an option that you might want to consider.”
Lopez told the committee the project would not be shelved but “we’re not going to aggressively pursue it for a year or maybe more,” he said.
Rivera said delaying projects until market conditions improved was not unprecedented. A year before current superintendent Lopez took office the district delayed construction of new field houses at Mission and Veteran’s Memorial High Schools because contractors consistently offered bids above the amount budgeted for the projects. He said a year had passed on the projects when Lopez requested the district once again advertise for bids.
“And the projects came in at budget or under budget,” Rivera said.
Rivera said the lack of contractors has also delayed a nearly $1 million renovation project of an Olympic-sized pool at Mission High School. And three score boards purchased for a total of approximately $22,000 have remained in storage since they were purchased about 18 months ago because installation bids came in excessively high, he said. The board voted Wednesday night to seek new bids for the installation of the score boards.
Rivera said the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent school district has the same cost overrun issues. He said the past five projects there have come in over budget including construction of a softball field, parking lot and concession stand.
“It was just a small $3 million project and it came in $435,000 over budget,” he said.
“This is a problem that is happening all across the Valley all the way to Corpus Christi,” Lopez said. “And it’s like the stock market. You just have to take daily pulses and whenever you feel it’s right then we put it out for bid again.”
During a break in Wednesday’s hearing Lopez said he was not concerned the Landry stadium project would be delayed due to competition for contractors because stadium construction is a specialty field and there is little competition in the valley to compete with it.