UPDATED: Brandon’s Thrash mulls accepting $33.4 million contract to build state’s museums

JACKSON, Mississippi — Brandon’s Thrash Commercial Contractors Inc. has snagged the contract to build the first phase of the Mississippi History Museum and Civil Rights Museum.

Thrash, a longtime Central Mississippi construction contracting company that switched exclusively to commercial building in 2000, won the contract with an apparent low bid of $33.4 million.

Thrash was among six companies to submit bids. Also bidding were Mississippi companies Evan Johnson & Sons, Fountain Construction Inc., Yates Construction and Roy Anderson Corp. MecTech Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio, was the only out-of-state bidder.

Kevin Upchurch, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance & Administration, said the bid award contains a 24-hour period for which Thrasher can back out of the contract. But otherwise, the company is expected to begin construction in late November, after administrative and legal formalities for the multi-million dollar project are completed.

Thrash said Friday it would decide by mid day whether to move forward with accepting the contract. State officials before the bidding  estimated the contract price could go as high as $40 million.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the pair of museums is scheduled for Oct. 24 on their future homes on Old Capitol Green between North and Jefferson streets.

Delays in completing bid specifications led to postpone of the original bid award date of Sept. 26.

The first phase gets the shell built and completion of a below-ground parking garage. The initial phase is expected to be completed in May 2015 and will be followed by a build-out phase expected to run about $30 million.

The museums will share common areas and the 200-space below-ground garage but otherwise will be distinct in appearance and in the exhibits featured, said Lucy Allen, director of the Museum Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the official in charge of choosing the exhibits that tens of thousands of visitors will view upon the opening of the museums in Mississippi’s bi-centennial year of 2017.

In total, the museums and their common space will cover 319,000 square feet on four floors. Shared space includes the lobby, meeting rooms and an auditorium that will seat 300 and catering kitchen.

The second floor will be reserved for a pair of halls to accommodate temporary exhibits. A hall will be dedicated to each museum, though the design will allow for the halls to present combined exhibits.

Other major commercial projects completed by Thrasher include Madison Ridgeland Academy, Bob Boyte Honda dealership, Region 8 Mental Health building and the Rankin County School District headquarters.

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