Three companies have submitted bids to construct the main buildings for the $93M Mississippi Aquarium.
The lowest bid of $52.1 million came from Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport. This was followed by $57 million from Thrash Commercial Contractors of Brandon and $59.7 million from Wharton-Smith Inc.
The budgeted price for the main aquarium ‘campus’ structures in downtown Gulfport is $52 million, reports the Sun Herald.
The contract will include the construction of aquarium buildings along with interior and outdoor exhibits. Entry fountains will feature 65 foot tall sails.
David Kimmel, Aquarium Director, says the city will review the bids to select the lowest and “most responsible” bidder. Kimmel will help review the bids, alongside project architect David Hardy of Eley Guild Hardy. The city expects the project will be cleared for construction by January.
Kimmel said that consulting engineers Terracon have been selected to inspect the construction work. The city selected the engineers through a professional proposal process. A contract and cost are still being finalized.
As Blooloop reported at the start of the year, St Louis-based architects PGAV Destinations are responsible for the design of the Mississippi Aquarium. The build emphasises the natural environment and the flow of water from rivers to the sea.
Clax Italia, based in Rome, Italy, are set to manufacture the aquarium’s acrylic features. These include exhibit walls and a tunnel designed to simulate the feeling of being inside the main tank or exhibit. The cost of acrylics will be about $2.3 million according to Kimmel.
The contract for exhibit theming will go out for bids in early 2018.
Initially construction was set to be completed by spring 2019. It has now been put back to late 2019 or early 2020.
“We’re giving the contractors now a full 24 months for completion,” says Kimmel. “We were listening to the bid market and some of them had some concerns about the time line, so we gave them more time.”