County OKs bids for Civic Center equine pavilion
Arena could be operating by spring
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Nov. 22, 2005 -- Hopkins County commissioners Monday unanimously accepted two bids for the construction of the long-awaited equine pavilion at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center.

Only one bid, submitted by Irby Welding and Construction in the amount of $550,000, was received for construction of the facility.

The lowest bid for electrical work, submitted by Neeley Electric of Bogota, was also accepted for the project.

Three bids were submitted for the electrical portion of the project and ranged from the low of $45,000 submitted by Neeley to a high of just more than $92,000.

The budgeted cost of the facility is $750,000. More than $40,000 of that amount has been spent for architectural fees and engineering costs. The remainder of the budgeted amount is for concrete work and some plumbing in the building

The first phase of construction will allow the county to get the facility operational so it can begin generating revenues to support programs that can be brought to Sulphur Springs.

Jonas Helm, chairman of the committee appointed to oversee the pavilion project, said he was excited to see the project move forward.

"I am proud we have come this far and we are going to get this thing completed," he said. "It has been a long time coming."

County Judge Cletis Millsap called the action a positive move for the county.

Tax revenues, generated through the city's hotel occupancy tax, along with the anticipated additional revenue generated through increased use of the Civic Center would cover the expected $750,000 cost of the project.

Commissioner Beth Wisenbaker said the awarding of the bids was a long time coming.

"I am thrilled to see this project move forward," Wisenbaker said. "I am happy for it to be successful."

The project, from design to the awarding of bids, has taken more than two years, but Wisenbaker said she did not feel there was any one thing that delayed this step in making the equine facility a reality.

Helm said he anticipated seeing the project begin to take shape quickly.

"We are supposed to order the building this week, and they are saying 60 to 90 days to get this pre-engineered building even built," Helm said. "I am looking at late spring as when we will be able to put some horses in there."

Helm said foundation work should begin within weeks.

"I hope to start moving some dirt within the next two weeks," he said. "I would like to get the dirt in and the piers poured before the weather sets in bad."

County commissioners also approved an order authorizing the county judge to approve a modification in the steel building contract as provided by Texas Local Government Code.

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