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Biloxi baseball stadium bids $5M above budget

BILOXI, Mississippi — Construction of a new minor league baseball stadium in Biloxi hit another snag Wednesday afternoon when the lowest construction bid opened was $5 million more than budgeted. The lowest contractor bid opened at city hall for MGM Park at Beau Rivage of $32.37 million.

“I’m a little disappointed, but that’s what the game is all about. We have to bid it out and see what happens,” Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway told WLOX. “We’re analyzing them now, we’re looking through them, my team is, and we don’t know what to think right now. It’s pretty much out of our budget.”

“We’re going to look at it, see what we can cut and what we can’t cut, and we might have to go through the process again,” Holloway said.

“We’re committed to building a baseball stadium in Biloxi, and regardless of the outcome today, we’ll find a way to make it work, and we’ll find the resources and we’ll be playing baseball next year,” Councilman Kenny Glavan told the television station.

The city council will meet next week to consider its next step in the project that is already weeks behind schedule with an opening day looming next April.

The city had advertised weeks ago for a general contractor for MGM Park at Beau Rivage, the $36 million downtown stadium for the Southern League Double-A team that is moving from Huntsville, Ala. Construction of a foundation and retaining wall and infrastructure work has already begun on the site at U.S. 90 and Caillavet Street, across the street from the Beau Rivage.

The stadium is being financed by $21 million in bonds, and $15 million in BP oil spill settlement money from Gov. Phil Bryant.

In May, the City Council decided to abandon the project manager route and hire a general contractor to oversee all facets of construction of the stadium.

The move allowed the city to solicit bids from one overall contractor instead of bidding each individual phase of the project, a process that had required the time-consuming re-bidding of work after initial bids were above projections.

At that time, architects Dale Partners said construction would take about 10 months. If that timetable holds, construction would not be complete until mid-May 2015, six weeks or more after the early April opening of the baseball season.

While the team could play the first 2-3 weeks on the road, it is unclear how long the Southern League would let the road games continue, or where the new team would play its home games.

“At this point we are waiting for the construction schedule to come out,” General Manager Buck Rogers said before Wednesday’s bid-opening. “Our ownership group is handling the timelines and deadlines, and it would be premature to jump the gun.  I think once they’ve had an opportunity to review the timelines and schedule they’ll have a plan in place, but at this time we haven’t made any decisions.”

Southern League media representative Peter Webb would not discuss game scenarios, only to say: “We’re hoping for the best and we’ll do what we need to when the time comes.”

Still to be determined is the team name. Management recently held a name-team-contest, allowing teams to vote on six choices that were selected from nominations: Beacon, Black Jacks, Mullets, Schooners, Shrimpers and Shuckers. The name and logo will be released this fall it receives league approval and a trademark and logo are developed.



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