Johnson City Commission set to approve work on Science Hill field house

Gary B. Gray • Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

A bid for the new Kermit Tipton Stadium field house has been OK’d, but tonight Johnson City commissioners will put their final stamp of approval on the contract that sets the project’s parameters.

Commissioners will consider J.E. Green Company’s base bid of $2,065,000 with the addition of $4,600 for brick veneer exterior walls, bringing the total to $2,069,600. Approval tonight gives the company the go-ahead to begin work July 28.

The contract calls for the company to achieve substantial completion by July 26, 2015. Should that not happen, J.E. Green would be liable to the city for $500 each consecutive day beyond that date, most likely meaning that amount would fall off the contract price.

On July 3, commissioners unanimously approved the bid contingent on the Board of Education voting several days later to restore $400,000 to its capital projects fund to help build the facility.

Commissioners tentatively have agreed to finance nearly $1.3 million to launch the project. More than $900,000 cash on hand from donations and the $400,000 from the school system would be used to help make debt service payments. Additional revenue is expected to roll in from advertising, parking fees and future donations.

Johnson City’s Beeson Lusk & Street designed new locker rooms, showers, training room, coaches’ offices, a weight-training room, as well as room to move seventh- and eighth-grade activities out of Freedom Hall and into the new field house when not in use by varsity sports.

Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin has said the possibilities are out there for additional funding from continued fundraising.

“As we go along, we can pick up some donors that have been sitting on the fence,” he said.

One anonymous donor has thrown a $140,000 figure out with the stipulation the full-sized design be carried out and that $100,000 be directed toward the field house’s weight room.

Commissioners also will hear a third and final readingof an ordinance to amend the city charter to allow municipal elections to coincide with the November general election. If approved on third reading, the matter will be put to voters during this year’s Nov. 4 election in the form of a question and “yes” and “no” choices.

Election commissions in Washington, Carter and Sullivan counties would place the proposed amendment on the ballot. Commissioners elected in April 2011 (Van Brocklin, Vice Mayor Clayton Stout and Commissioner Jeff Banyas) whose terms expire in 2015, would have their terms extended to December 2016. Commissioners elected in April 2013 (Commissioners Jenny Brock and David Tomita), whose terms expire in 2017, would have their terms expire in December 2018.

Meanwhile, the Johnson City Public Art Committee received proposals for the Founders Park Entryway Art Project, a work of art that will be positioned at the entry on Sevier Street. On July 9, the committee selected artists Duke Oursler and Marc Moulton’s creation titled “Genesis.”

It’s now up to commissioners to sanction the piece.

Fabricated from stainless steel, this sculpture is about 15 feet tall and 14 feet wide. It depicts the images of many of the locally pollinating birds, insects, animals and indigenous flora and fauna found in Tennessee.

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