The first phase of the new airport construction project in Monticello will soon be underway. After 16 bids were reviewed by Armstrong Consultants, the bid was awarded to Schmidt Construction.
The Cedar City company is anxious to begin work, and hopes to start within two weeks. Assistant City Manager Ruth Skouson reported that they have received clearance from the FAA and UDOT Aeronautics to begin the project. The council approved Schmidt Construction as contractor for phase one of the new airport project for $1.29 million.
While discussing the bids, Councilman Brad Randall expressed concerns about taking the low bidder on projects and then going over budget in the long run. He told the council about a bid process where the high and low bidder was thrown out and then the others are evaluated.
The council questioned whether this could be done under Utah law. Skouson said that Armstrong Consultants was diligent in researching the bidders.
Mayor Doug Allen asked what happens to grant money that is left on the table. Skouson said the money saved from phase one will be rolled over into another phase and could possibly be used to do additional work this year.
City Manager Myron Lee presented an update on the upcoming road construction project on Main and Center streets. Lee told the Council he was informed that the bid openings were delayed by the Utah Department of Transportation due to the addition of an addendum to the project.
Lee reported that there will be public meetings about the project once a contractor is selected and planning has begun. He expects a pre-construction meeting in June.
Councilman Scott Shakespeare suggested that they give business owners weekly updates on the projects. Lee has a sign-up sheet in the City Office for any community members who are interested in receiving updates.
The council received an update on the Science center/Discovery center. Bill Boyle opened the discussion by reminding the council about the project and it’s relationship to the city. He said that the center had it’s origins in the City Economic Development committee.
He said that the goal of the center is to help Monticello become a destination to attract families and education-minded people, and show off the Colorado Plateau and Monticello’s place in that.
Boyle said that the committee eventually determined that they needed a local organization that had the resources and the background to put together a project of this magnitude. Four Corners School, with a 25 year history in Monticello, was a natural fit.
Janet Ross of the Four Corners School, reported that the Discovery Center project has purchased 20 acres of land north of town. She told the council that the site is perfect, as it is close to town, but that you cannot see the city lights so their astronomy programs will not be affected.
There are three portions included in the project, including a visitors center, a conference space that will seat approximately 170 people with space for offices and classrooms, and a building for storage and the creation of exhibits.
Ross said the buildings are designed to be LEED certified, with rammed-earth walls made partially of recycled newspapers and blue jeans, and a living roof.
Ross shared an idea to ask every person in Monticello to donate a pair of blue jeans so each resident has a part in the building. The project will include outside classrooms, amphitheater, and observatory, as well as a greenhouse which uses recycled water from the other buildings.
Ross reported that they have raised $1.2 million to date and look to raise a total of $7.5 million.
In other business, the City is waiting for approval of a Community Development Block Grant to complete restrooms at Veterans Memorial Park. The Council suggested researching alternatives to fund the project.