Bids for the MAPS 3 Fairgrounds expo center in Oklahoma City came in under estimates when they were opened Thursday afternoon at City Hall.
Last week’s bids for the MAPS 3 whitewater recreation center far exceeded estimates, creating tension leading up to Thursday afternoon’s bid meeting in a City Hall conference room.
Several top city executives attended, including City Manager Jim Couch.
The expo center construction estimate was just under $42 million, Couch said.
The eight bids opened at 1 p.m. Thursday ranged from $37 million by Atlas General Contractors to $42 million by Timberlake Construction Co. The six in the middle fell in a narrow range from $40 million to $40.6 million.
The middle bidders included all three companies that submitted the unexpectedly high bids for the whitewater recreation center.
Expo center construction is expected to begin after this year’s State Fair and be completed by the end of 2015 or early in 2016.
The expo center will be built near State Fair Arena, replacing the Travel & Transportation Building and Carriage Hall.
The new building will include a 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall and commercial-grade kitchen.
Architects’ drawings depict an entry hall encased largely in glass.
Construction bids opened last week for the whitewater recreation center on the Oklahoma River ranged from $37 million to $45.2 million, far in excess of the estimated $23.8 million.
MAPS 3 project manager David Todd said the whitewater center designer, Scott Shipley of S2o Designs in Lyons, Colo., came to Oklahoma City this week to meet with city officials.
Shipley is investigating why bids to construct his design were so far above what he and city leaders expected, Todd said.
The whitewater center has been described by Boathouse Foundation executive director Mike Knopp as a “signature project for the river.”
It is to serve as a training and competition venue for Olympic-caliber athletes, while offering less-intense recreational opportunities for children and adults looking for rafting, canoeing and kayaking experiences that mimic the thrill of taking on rapids on a whitewater river trip.