Lone tennis bid over budget

City to examine project, present options to council members

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City officials will look for cost-saving measures to keep the ball in play for a major tennis-center expansion.

This week, the lone bid on a major portion of the $2.1 million renovation of The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs came in over budget.

City Manager Paul Hughes didn't reveal the amount of the bid, saying Tuesday that he couldn't quantify the size of the discrepancy between the bid and the budget. He said he would need to participate in a series of meetings to fully understand the complex bid.

"I can't tell you what the outlook is" until after the meetings, Hughes said. "To say that the project is significantly over budget, could, in the long run, prove not to be the case."

Although five area contractors pulled bid packets from the city, Fox Construction submitted the only bid.

City staff will meet with members of the tennis committee Friday morning, Hughes said, then present a range of options to the Steamboat Springs City Council at its Tuesday meeting.

When the City Council approved the renovations in October 2004, it was with the expectation the tennis community would raise about $360,000 of the cost.

Planned renovations to the Tennis Center include a new frame and fabric outer layer to replace the existing bubble. The renovations also would add two courts to the existing four and install new surfaces on the courts. Bids for those phases of the project came in under budget, Hughes said. The frame and fabric have been ordered.

The phase of construction covered by the current bid process involves concrete and foundation work, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, expanded locker rooms, a storage room, an observation deck and a pro shop, among other things.

"We're going to have to look at all of the pieces and decide what to eliminate, what to defer until another year and what to reduce," Hughes said. "We'll decide what we still think is important, and we'll make that case to council."

During discussions about the Tennis Center project in May, city staff members said they expected to begin framing the new structure in early September and talked about the downsides of delaying the project to October.

Hughes said delaying the project until next year is one possibility. However, worldwide demand for steel and petroleum projects are driving construction prices up, and he worried that a delay until 2006 only would add to the final cost of the project.

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