Elizabethton City Council set to consider first of two-part bid for Bonnie Kate sprinkler

John Thompson • Updated Oct 8, 2019 at 11:23 PM

ELIZABETHTON — After a great deal of fundraising and other work, another project to bring the Bonnie Kate Theater back to its former glory is about to get started. At least the project is getting started, but it might take a while to finish.

This time it is a project to install a fire sprinkler into the facility.

Two bids were received by the city, with Johnson Controls Fire Protection LP providing the low bid of $93,954.

That bid was a bit more than the Bonnie Kate board has raised for the project, but it will be considered and voted on at Thursday’s meeting of the Elizabethton City Council.

The council must approve the bid because the city technically owns the building in the name of the Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation, which is prohibited by its charter from possessing real estate.

According to the agenda item summary prepared for council members, the city fire marshal has given approval to install the sprinkler system in two stages, as long as the first stage includes the installation of the sprinkler system to the entire first floor, including the theater.

The auditors said the city was in compliance with the competitive building process as long as Johnson Controls was agreeable to completing the project in two stages as funding becomes available for the second stage at a later date.

According to the agenda item summary, Johnson Controls has agreed to complete the first stage of the project at a cost of $75,954. The city of Elizabethton has $53,780.81 allocated for the sprinkler project. The Bonnie Kate Foundation will provide $7,181.88 toward the project, and Friends of the Bonnie Kate will provide $5,931. The remaining $9,060.31 will come from guaranteed pledges.

The installation of the sprinkler system will allow the theater to put on larger performances that will bring in additional revenue to help speed up the renovation of the theater, which was built in 1926.

The Bonnie Kate also has a business on the first floor, Red Chili, a Korean restaurant. There are no businesses on the second floor.

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