Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, December 10, 2021

City officials have approved an approximately $7,000 increase for soil testing at the NexusPark site.

The Columbus Board of Works passed a change order on Tuesday for work being done by Patriot Engineering and Environmental, Inc.

In August, the board approved a contract with the company for a geotechnical engineering investigation.

City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar said then that the company provided a quote of $14,500 for the work, which included geotechnical testing at the proposed site of the athletic fieldhouse.

This fieldhouse is just one of the planned components of NexusPark, a joint venture between the city and Columbus Regional Health to transform FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center.

Brinegar told the board on Tuesday that the city is seeking an additional soil sample test of the site.

“We’re calling it a seismic test,” he said. “If the report comes back as we anticipate, we may be able to reduce some of the steel that would be needed for the fieldhouse structure. And so we believe by doing this for approximately $7,000, we have a chance to save up to $100,000 or even $200,000 on steel costs.”

City Director of Administration and Community Development Mary Ferdon said that the goal is to change the seismic classification code at the site. The company’s tests will be able to tell the city if additional bracing is needed due to the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Ferdon said the city is “in the very exterior of that zone.”