Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, November 14, 2022

Dunlap and Company is the only contractor to submit a general construction proposal for parks administrative and community spaces at NexusPark.

The Columbus Board of Works opened bids for the project on Wednesday, then voted to take the proposals under advisement.

According to City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar, the city bid the project in four packages:

  • Bid package 1 – General trades and construction
  • Bid package 2 – Plumbing, HVAC and fire protection
  • Bid package 3 – Electrical
  • Bid package 4 – Communications, electronic safety and security

Dunlap submitted a $10.834 million bid on package 1, a $4.399 million bid on package 2, and a proposal of $14.995 million for both packages. The city received three other bids on package 2; Sullivan & Poore, Inc bid $4.19 million, Circle “R” Mechanical Contractors bid approximately $5.08 million, and Harrell-Fish Inc. bid $4.395 million. Ovation Technology Group bid $748,450 for package 4.

These proposals will be reviewed by a committee that includes individuals from Taylor Brothers Construction (which is the city’s construction manager) and various city officials, said Brinegar. The committee will take about two to three weeks to go over the bids before making a recommendation.

Additionally, the city did not receive any bids for the electrical package, so they will need to re-issue a notice to bidders on that piece.

Brinegar said at a previous meeting that the project was estimated to cost $12 to $15 million, with officials hoping for construction to begin in late December or early January. The submitted bids indicate that the work could cost the city at least $15.7 million, not including the added cost of the electrical package.

The project will take place indoors in an area that extends from the former JCPenney area to the site of the new fieldhouse. The planned spaces include parks administration offices, three multipurpose rooms, a child watch area, a fitness center, a teaching kitchen and three conference rooms.

“It’ll also include support spaces for the fieldhouse, a gathering place and additional concessions, as well as some common area constructions,” said Associate Director of Recreation Nikki Murphy.

NexusPark is a joint effort by the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health to redevelop the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center.

In addition to parks department spaces, the campus is also expected to include a fieldhouse, restaurant and retail areas and CRH facilities. Outdoor community park and gathering spaces are planned, and Dunham’s is expected to remain on-site under its current lease.

The total cost of the NexusPark project was estimated to be nearly $92 million, as of late June.

Columbus City Council voted in March of 2022 to use up to $11.5 million in bonds to fund parks and recreation spaces at the campus. The bonds are payable from a special tax levied on the Columbus Park District.

The city was later awarded a $6 million Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative grant for NexusPark. According to state officials, only parks offices and community spaces will be funded through the grant. This includes parks administration offices, community conference rooms, youth multi-purpose rooms, low-cost fitness areas, a child watch area and a teaching kitchen.