Contract negotiations, grant application approved for new Stanley White Rec Center construction

An artist's rendering shows the exterior entrance to the new Stanley White Recreation Center planned off of Third Avenue in New Bern.
An artist’s rendering shows the exterior entrance to the new Stanley White Recreation Center planned off of Third Avenue in New Bern.

The City of New Bern has entered into contract negotiations for the building of the new Stanley White Recreation Center.

The city opened bids for the project on April 25 and received five contracts for review. The low bid of $13,180,400 was submitted by T.A. Loving Company, a Goldsboro-based construction contractor. 

Last week, the New Bern Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a request for the city to enter into contract negotiations with the company at the recommendation of CPL Architects, which did the concept plan for the new Stanley White Recreation Center. 

City Manager Foster Hughes said the contract would be brought before aldermen at their next meeting on May 23. He said CPL would also make a presentation at that meeting to address value engineering options for the project that would allow the city to get “more bang for the buck.”

Once the contract is finalized, Hughes said construction was anticipated to take 14 months. 

According to the contract T.A. Loving Company submitted to the city during the bidding process, the following contractors would be part of the construction:

-Humphrey Mechanical, Jacksonville (mechanical contractor and plumbing contractor)

-E.L. Electric Contracting, New Bern (electrical contractor)

-RE Bengal Sheet Metal Company, New Bern (roofing contractor)

During last week’s meeting, the board of aldermen also approved a resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a Rural Transformation Grant to be used for SWRC construction.

According to Parks and Recreation Director Kari Warren, the grant application was submitted on May 3 for a total of $950,000. She said the award will be made in June if the city is selected as a recipient. 

During their April 25 meeting, the board directed city staff to apply for a Rural Transformation Grant through the NC Department of Commerce to help fund the SWRC project. The board had previously voted to use that grant money to fund a new Pepsi Museum in downtown New Bern. Aldermen voted to redirect the grant when it became clear a location for the museum wouldn’t be chosen in time to meet the application deadline.

Hughes explained that when the city applied for the grant, they were not aware a resolution from the governing board was necessary. He said the NC Department of Commerce had been sent the minutes from the board’s April 25 meeting and had allowed the city to continue with the grant application and approve the resolution at a later date. 

If approved for the grant, the Rural Transformation money would be added to the $8.6 million Stanley White Recreation project fund the city established in 2020.

The current design for the new recreation 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.