The Mesa City Council voted unanimously on an item to progress the renovation of Hohokam Stadium and ensure the project is completed before the Oakland A’s play their first spring training game in 2015.
The vote, made during the council’s June 17 meeting, approved the hiring of a construction manager at risk, or CMAR, to provide input on several aspects of the project and the procurement of five hydrotherapy tanks for a total cost just shy of $560,000.
According to documents attached to the meeting’s agenda, the CMAR the council hired, W.E. O’Neil Construction, will have a hand in project design, cost-estimating, development and coordinating with the city during the construction process. Assistant City of Mesa engineer Kelly Jensen said the benefits of using a CMAR in lieu of a traditional model stem from the company’s involvement with the project from day one, which can reduce the number of design corrections and help all parties involved adjust to any impromptu challenges.
Using a CMAR also cuts back on potential budget overages, for example an unnecessary amenity that would cause the project to go over its limit, and guarantees the stadium renovation is completed in a cost-effective manner.
“They basically have to build the project with the money we have available,” he said.
The council’s vote comes approximately four months after it voted on an agreement to bring the Oakland A’s back to Mesa 35 years after it departed the city for Scottsdale. The team currently plays its spring training games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and Hohokam was the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs until the end of the 2013 spring training season.
Under the facilities use agreement signed with the A’s, the City of Mesa covers the first $15 million of the renovation of Hohokam Stadium and the accompanying Fitch Park, and will split the next $5 million with the team, which caps the city’s fiscal involvement at $17.5 million. Anything in excess of $20 million is covered by the team.
Any construction of the project must be completed by the end of 2014 in order to have the A’s moved in to the remodeled site by the beginning of the 2015 spring-training season. To make that completion date, Jensen said the city has to begin working on the stadium by either December of this year or by January 2014.
With the hiring of the CMAR, mayor Scott Smith said at a June 18 press conference the city expects to meet the agreed-upon timeframe.
“We are confident we will be able to meet the deadline,” he said.
Smith also provided an update on the construction of Wrigleyville West — the new spring training facility for the Cubs set to open for the 2014 spring training season. As of June 18, Smith said the area is 60-percent finished and he estimated to see grass on the field within the ensuing week.
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