Construction of new Stanley White Recreation Center could begin by July

A contract for construction of the new Stanley White Recreation Center is expected to be finalized within the next two weeks, with work beginning possibly as early as July.

Plans to build a new Stanley White Recreation Center continued to pick up speed this week with the New Bern Board of Aldermen’s vote to authorize the execution of a construction contract.

The board voted 7-0 to adopt a resolution to execute a contract with T.A. Loving Company, a Goldsboro-based construction contractor that submitted a low bid for the project of $13,180,400.

Chris Vulcano, the city’s representative with CPL Architects and Engineers, said CPL has vetted T.A. Loving and is currently in contract negotiations with the company. 

According to Vulcano, city staff have reviewed a draft contract and T.A. Loving is now discussing edits that were made. He said he is hoping to hear back from the company within the next two weeks. 

Once the contract is approved by both parties, Vulcano said there were several outstanding permits that would need to be obtained from the N.C. Department of Insurance and the state fire marshal.

“Based on where we are with our permits and outstanding items and the contracts that still need to be executed they’re anticipating an early July to mid-July mobilization date to get started,” Vulcano said. 

Another obstacle to construction, the presence of the historic Tisdale House on land designated for the new rec center, was expected to be solved Wednesday night, when the house was scheduled to be relocated. 

The draft contract indicates the Stanley White Recreation project is to be completed within 15 months from the date of commencement of work, which would put construction ending sometime in October of 2024 if Vulcano’s estimate holds true. 

He said CPL didn’t anticipate any issues with the contract at this point.

“We’re hoping once they mobilize that things should move pretty quickly,” he told the board.

In order to save money, City Manager Foster Hughes said the city will use its public works and parks and recreation staff for fine grading landscaping work. He said construction of a Stanley White Recreation Center History Wall would be contracted out separately to a specialty  firm.

Hughes also addressed a question from Alderman Barbara Best concerning a contract item designating $64,400 for two additional basketball goals in the new facility’s gymnasium. Hughes said the original proposal did not include four goals in the gym and that the additions would allow participants to have “the full gym experience for events and activities.”

The city is hoping to receive additional funding for the project prior to the construction start date. Earlier this month, the board approved a resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a $950,000 Rural Transformation Grant that would go towards the Stanley White Rec project.

The award would be made in June if the city is selected for the grant. 

The current design for the new rec center calls for a two-story, 35,000 sq. foot building to be located on property purchased by the city between Gaston Boulevard and Third Avenue.

The plan features two gymnasiums, offices and multi-purpose spaces on the ground level, along with an elevated walking track and fitness and weight room on the second floor.

By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.