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Discussions continue on Oklahoma City whitewater park

Whitewater park’s unique nature has created some financial challenges for the MAPS 3 project.
by William Crum Modified: August 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 10, 2014

Designer Scott Shipley said concerns about “constructability” drove a contractor’s higher-than-expected bid for the MAPS 3 whitewater center.

Bids to build the center exceeded expectations when they were opened last month.

Plans call for the center to open in late 2015 or early 2016 on an 11-acre site downstream from the boathouses on the Oklahoma River.

With one of the highest profiles among the MAPS 3 projects, it will offer recreational opportunities for casual paddlers, while at the same time serving as a training and competition venue for Olympic-caliber kayak and canoe athletes.

USA Canoe/Kayak, the national governing body for paddle sports, relocated to Oklahoma City in 2011 and anticipates making the whitewater center its training hub.

The city had estimated construction costs of $23.8 million, but bids from three companies ranged from $37 million to $45.2 million.

Shipley’s firm, S2o Design, won the contract to design the course, and created a 1/12th-scale model as part of the process.

A three-time Olympian and four-time kayak world title holder with degrees in mechanical engineering, Shipley has worked on projects including the 2012 Olympic paddling venue.

No flaws found in bid review

Shipley said the first step in his review was to study the bids from Downey Contracting, Flintco and Crossland Construction for mistakes or oversights.

None of that was found, he said.

Shipley said he then consulted with Downey, the low bidder at just less than $37 million.

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