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Twelve companies in bidding to build Student Life Center

What will be Brookhaven’s tallest building is closer to realitywith the opening of bids for the first phase of eight-story StudentLife Center for the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer, the school’s director, said bids wereopened Feb. 8 and Albert and Associates Architects are reviewingthem now. A decision on a contractor is expected in earlyMarch.

“We anticipate a notice to proceed about the first of April,”Bodenhamer said. “That date’s critical because that’s when theclock starts on the actual construction time.”

The first part of the Student Life Center is an 18-month projectand will include a dormitory, library, commons area, exercisefacilities, an infirmary, plus areas for resident advisors and dormparents. A second phase, including additional dorm space, will comelater.

A bid tabulation form shows 13 construction companies turning inbids, with one ruled a late submission. Base bid prices ranged fromaround $9.9 million to over $11.6 million.

“Bids were higher than we anticipated,” Bodenhamer said, addingthat the bids included some deductive alternates that can beremoved to get the project in line with estimates.

Bodenhamer said the project was estimated at $8.3 million.Examples of some deductive alternates include window modificationsand the type of roof used over the main entrance, she said.

A recommendation on a contractor will go from the architects tostate Superintendent of Education Dr. Richard Thompson to the stateBureau of Buildings and Grounds and finally to the stateProcurement Board. That board’s next meeting is the first week inMarch, Bodenhamer said.

Before the notice to proceed is issued, Bodenhamer said it willtake a little while to finalize legal and other aspects of theconstruction contract.

“None of that can be done until after the Procurement Boardmeets,” she said.

The first phase’s scheduled completion date is August 2002,shortly before the school is targeted to open that year with about60 students. The school is anticipated to be fully operational in2005 with approximately 300 students.