By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — It’s not Santa’s sleigh, but the multiuse recreational center planned for the former Hoosier Panel property in New Albany will have all the bells and whistles Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration sought.
On Tuesday, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission approved a contract with Morel Construction Company to build the facility for $5.083 million.
The cost to construct the 30,000 square-foot facility will be $4.057 million, and the additional features including splash pads, walking trails and a skate park for the center and surrounding property will be $1.026 million.
The contractor can now proceed with finalizing pre-construction requirements and beginning the project within a few months, with an anticipated completion date sometime in the spring.
David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for New Albany, said Morel submitted the lowest and most responsive bid, and added the cost will allow the city to afford the additional amenities.
“It’s exciting because it’s everything we wanted,” Duggins said.
The multiuse recreational center off of Silver Street is part Gahan’s quality-of-life project initiative. The city is paying for the center, an outdoor aquatic center and improvements to Binford Park and Cannon Acres through a $19.6 million bond.
Bids for the recreational center were submitted last month and reviewed by the administration as well as the engineer for the project, Cripe Architects.
The city has been without a large indoor complex since it ceded the Southern Indiana Sports Center to Floyd County last year.
The new facility will likely serve as the home of the New Albany Parks Department’s administrative offices once it is completed.
Morel Construction is located in Louisville, and a majority of the contractor’s work has been on multimillion dollar projects, according to Michael Grubb, Director of Architecture for Cripe Architects.
“They appear very qualified to perform the work as designed,” Grubb wrote in a letter to the administration and commission.
“Their references were very complimentary of their work.”