Friday, July 16, 2010

Rodeo project creates local jobs

Power Engineers to oversee construction of ice rink


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Little is left of the historic rodeo arena in Hailey, which is being dismantled to make way for a new, improved facility. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Hailey Rodeo Grounds redevelopment, currently under way at the south end of town, is providing jobs to local workers. How many locals are hired for the year-long duration of the project will depend on their qualifications and the efforts of city officials and the Hailey Ice nonprofit group to direct more work their way.

In May, Hailey voters approved a $3.5 million bond issue to help fund a $6 million to $7 million redevelopment of the rodeo grounds, which will include a new rodeo arena, ice rink and recreation center, interpretive center and expanded skate park.

A selling point for the bond and tax increase associated with the redevelopment was the need for local construction jobs, yet some residents expected the work to go to out-of-town contractors and their employees.

The Hailey Public Works Department will begin negotiations for a contract with Kreizenbeck Constructors of Boise to provide a construction manager for the rodeo arena portion of the redevelopment.

Hailey-based Power Engineers was in the running for the contract, but did not have a license for building public works projects, a requirement under state law. Power Engineers will provide construction management for the Hailey Ice rink and recreation facility portion of the redevelopment, which is funded privately.

Kreizenbeck has completed many large-scale projects in Blaine County in the past 10 years, said Hailey Public Works Director Tom Hellen.

Under state law, the city will have to advertise any jobs over $100,000 for two weeks in the local newspaper before awarding contracts for work on the rodeo arena.

"People from out of the area could be reading the paper and bid on projects, but I am not looking for them," he said.

For anything under $100,000, the city can just ask local contractors for bids.

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A contract on the rodeo arena project for sewer and water excavation was awarded last week to local firm Extreme Excavation for $89,442.

Hailey City Administrator Heather Dawson said hiring a construction manager, rather than a general contractor, will allow the city to "team up" with the construction manager and have a greater influence on who gets work.

"The city will make sure taxpayers get a profitable bid and also ensure that local contractors are hired whenever possible," she said.

Frank Halverson, a senior consultant at Power Engineers, will manage construction of the Hailey Ice rink. He will oversee contractors during the rink's construction.

Architect Michael Bulls is scheduled to present updated designs to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday. He said hiring local workers to complete the project is foremost in the minds of the proponents of the rink.

"This has been a common thread all along," Bulls said. "It is the goal of Hailey Ice to engage local workers as frequently as is feasible."

Bulls said highly specialized work such as the installation of refrigeration systems for the rink and steel fabrication will be hired out.

"I think most of the rest could be done locally," he said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com

Artists take on rodeo arena

The Hailey Arts Commission and the city of Hailey have chosen five artists to participate in the city's first public art project required by the "percent for art" ordinance passed in 2008. About $70,000 will be made available to the artists chosen by a panel assembled by the city. The artists will incorporate creative designs into the Hailey Rodeo Grounds redevelopment. In 2008, Hailey became the sixth city in Idaho to pass a "percent for art" ordinance, requiring that 1.25 percent of the budgets for capital improvement projects be spent on installing and maintaining art. The Arts Commission encourages artists to incorporate art into the construction designs. "We are excited to have the artists engage with the architect at the front end of this project," said Hailey Arts Commission Chair Mark Johnstone, who served as public art administrator for the city of Los Angeles for eight years before coming to Hailey. "Hailey has clearly sent a signal that art is an important part of our culture." The five artists will be presented to the City Council and mayor for approval on Monday, July 26.




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