Brock looks to continue progress on downtown arts project

Artist's rendering of the future Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Artist's rendering of the future Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Brock University will soon begin negotiations with Bird Construction Group, the low bidder for Brock’s downtown fine arts facility, in an effort to achieve cost savings on the project and move toward a start of construction.

This leg of the process can proceed now that the University, Diamond Schmitt Architects and the project manager have reviewed all six bids from companies vying to build the new home of Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines.

When the bids were opened on Oct. 19, all exceeded the University’s $26-million construction budget by more than $6-million.

As part of the negotiation process, the architect and contractor will review the project’s design and specifications with the goal of achieving substantial cost reductions. The University will also continue to develop other options, in the event that this preferred course of action is not successful.

The new facility will house about 500 students, faculty and staff, and will be based in a renovated factory, the former Canada Hair Cloth building, which is a downtown landmark. Ownership of the property was recently transferred from the City to the University, when the Record of Site Condition was successfully filed by the provincial Ministry of the Environment.

The Brock facility will be adjacent to a new Performing Arts Centre being developed by the City of St. Catharines.

The bids submitted for the Brock project were:

Bird Construction Group – $32,200,000
ACCEL Construction Management – $32,400,000
Merit Contractors Niagara – $33,290,000
EllisDon Corporation – $33,469,000
Graham Construction & Engineering – $33,900,000
Carillion Canada Inc – $33,950,000

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