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Sandpoint City Council awards $7.78M contract

by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE
Staff Writer | July 14, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT – Emerick Construction Co. has been awarded a $7.78 million design and building contract for the renovation of Travers Park.

The first phase of the project will focus on the construction of the James E. Russell Sports Center, the expansion of the skate park, and a gateway plaza. The sports center comes after the city’s acceptance of a $7.5 million donation from Jim Russell and his mother, Virginia (Ginny) Russell in March. As wife and son of James E. Russell, Jim Russell said they made the donation, after his father's passing in 2019 to honor his father’s lifelong dream to give back to the community he spent his life in.

“It was a dream of his for a long time,” Jim Russell said. “He wanted to give back something to Sandpoint, Bonner County, and North Idaho. We knew we wanted to do something in his honor, but we didn’t know exactly what. We knew it would be sports related but beyond that, we were unsure what was possible.”

After some discussion with city officials, the idea of a sports complex with indoor multi-use courts resonated with the Russells and was something they felt would most benefit the community. In the council meeting on July 6, Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton detailed the project to the council.

Stapleton told the council this plan would see not only the construction of the complex, which will have multi-use courts with an “emphasis” on pickleball and tennis but would also see the expansion of the skatepark to include bike skills facilities, and site improvements to the gateway plaza and trailhead.

The entrance to Travers Park will also become home to another generous donation. Two bronze sculptures were commissioned and donated by retired veterinarians and 40-year Sandpoint residents, Ann M. Hargis and H. Denny Liggitt IV. The pair commissioned artist Georgia Gerber, who created the pig at Pike Place Market in Seattle, to sculpt two interactive sculptures that would depict stories that their friend author Patrick McManus wrote. After Gerber gave Hargis and Liggitt some options, they chose a cougar with her cub and a bear. Stapleton said both sculptures are currently being created and will be finished in 2023 to be installed at the new facility.

In her presentation, Stapleton mentioned how involved the Bonner County Skate Board Association has been in the expansion of the skate park. Stapleton told the council how much this project coming to fruition meant to BCSBA.

“This has long been a longtime dream of theirs, and they continue fundraising for this,” Stapleton said.

Continuing her presentation Stapleton told the council that a number of firms were present at the pre-construction meeting But it was the proposal received from Emerick Construction that was the most responsive. In the proposal, Emerick Construction stipulated that the cost of the project would be “fine-tuned” based on the completion of a risk assessment.

Completed with the month Stapleton said the findings of the assessment revealed, through geotechnical analysis, 10 feet of decomposing wood on the site where the facility’s new tennis courts would be. Stapleton said this finding was actually positive because it could be dealt with quickly.

In the proposal, Emerick Construction will be the “principal” on the project but will be partnering with ALSC Architects based in Spokane, for design specifics. Stapleton said the final proposal was presented on June 21 and “was within budget and on schedule.”

“ALSC has extensive experience in building buildings and facilities,” Stapleton said. “Like is proposed here this specifically they have done a number of YMCA facilities throughout the region, a number of the college recreation centers around the area as well as some of the other municipal and county recreation facilities throughout the whole region.”

Cory Loman president, of Emerick Construct Co., told the council the project was a stepping stone in giving the 80-year-old Oregon-based company a foothold. With this foothold, Loman said the overall goal was to help in the growth of the community.

“We've recently opened what we're calling a forward operating base, many would call it a satellite office here in Sandpoint, and have been relocating resources and key individuals into the area so that we can start building [in] Sandpoint community and the 7B area and making this our home as well. So we're excited to be a part of it,” Loman said

The council voted unanimously to approve this contract awarding to Emerick Construction Co., which means the concept photos presented by Stapleton and designed by parkers and planning manager Maeve Nevins-Lavtar, will go in for final design.

The project planning and designing are expected to move quickly, Stapleton said, with designing taking place over the course of the next three months and the project to be completed by October 2023.

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