The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

September 16, 2010

City to gather bids on razing Convention Hall

ENID — City officials will be gathering bids over the next few weeks to determine the cost of demolishing Convention Hall/Mark Price Arena.

Planning Administrator Chris Bauer had a meeting with nearly a dozen contractors Thursday to go over a specification document that outlines the procedures for demolishing the building, should the action go forward.

Contractors will have until 4 p.m. Oct. 1 to submit bids to the city, and the bids will be read at 4:10 p.m. that day in Conference Room B at city hall.

“My task is to find out what it’ll cost and report that to the city commission,” Bauer said to the contractors at the meeting.

Don Rose, Ward 2 city commissioner, said no decision will be made on what to do with Convention Hall until the city secures a bid for the building’s demolition.

When asked if there is strong intention within the city to demolish the building, Rose answered, “We’re purely about fact finding. We’re about finding the facts about what the costs are for demolishing the building.”

After the city gets the final bid, he said, then the city will compare it to possible other options.

“Whatever (the bid) is, who’s to say we couldn’t invest the same amount of money into someone who wants it?” he said.

At the meeting Thursday, Bauer told contractors money is in place to do the project.

After the meeting, Jerald Gilbert, chief financial officer for the city, clarified by saying the city currently does not have funds appropriated to demolish Mark Price Arena.

He knows, however, where the money likely would come from.

“(It would be from) the one cent sales tax not used to pay existing water bond debt,” he said.

City officials are trying to figure out what to do with Mark Price Arena, which is housed inside Convention Hall, after an Aug. 24 vote on a project called Gateway Enid failed by only 131 votes.

Gateway Enid, a proposed $20 million bond issue, would have renovated Convention Hall/Mark Price Arena, expanded Cherokee Strip Conference Center and added a 75,000-square-foot events center to downtown.

Facilities inside Convention Hall have been deemed not Americans With Disabilities Act compliant and money would have to be spent to make it so in order for any events to take place there. The building, which used to host Enid High School basketball, has been closed for two years.

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