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Carnegie bid $2.4 million less than expected

POSTED June 27, 2009 4:44 p.m.
The proposed reconstruction of the Carnegie Arts Center now looks like it will cost less than the Turlock City Council ever imagined, as the lowest bid submitted tallied just $5.3 million, more than $2 million less than the $7.7 million in funding identified for the project in October 2007.
A total of 15 bids for the Carnegie project were submitted to Turlock City Hall on Thursday, the highest of which came in at $6.2 million. Applegate Johnston, Inc., of Modesto submitted the low bid of $5.3 million.
“I think (the lower than expected bid) makes the future a lot brighter and I think it makes the project a lot more feasible,” said new Turlock City Arts Commission Chairman Dustin Soiseth. “The bids came in almost $2.5 million less than what the architect predicted, so that means with the funds available … a lot of the ancillary costs associated with the building will be able to be covered by that money.”
The City of Turlock will confirm all bids to ensure they were properly filed and accurately represent all costs associated with construction before taking the proposals to the City Council for a July 14 vote.
One vote on the future of the Carnegie Arts Center will fall before the council on Tuesday night, however, as the board will sit as the Redevelopment Agency to consider the agency’s proposed 2009-2010 budget.
The RDA has already expended $848,000 on the Carnegie reconstruction and $3 million more is requested as a part of next year’s budget. As a part of the RDA budget Recreation Division staff have estimated the net city staffing and maintenance costs in the Carnegie’s first year of operation to be $1,450 after factoring in anticipated revenues.
The future of the Carnegie is still somewhat in doubt following a May 5 RDA meeting where agency members were asked to reprioritize project funding and two of five members did not list the renovation as a priority. Additionally, some questions remain as to how the arts center will be operated without full-time staffing after Arts Facilitator Lisa McDermott was dismissed during the most recent Turlock budget cycle.
“At this point we’re adjusting to the loss of Lisa (McDermott) and we’re just waiting for the dust to settle,” Soiseth said. “I know all the city departments are making adjustments, so we’re taking a step back and assessing what our resources are and seeing what programs we can maintain.”
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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