Council to approve construction contract for downtown parking deck

An early rendering shows what preliminary designs predict the new parking deck could look like at the corner of Spring Street and School Avenue.

Courtesy, City of Fayetteville

Plans for a new parking deck in downtown Fayetteville are moving along as scheduled.

City Council members are expected next week to approve a contract for construction management services with Baldwin & Shell, the same company that built the University of Arkansas’ Garland Avenue and Harmon Avenue parking decks.

Project manager David Jurgens said a selection committee chose the Rogers-based firm over 10 candidates, citing the company’s reputation and recent experience building decks in Fayetteville.

“References for Baldwin & Shell have been fantastic,” Jurgens said during Tuesday’s council agenda-setting session.

Aldermen discuss preliminary design options for the planned downtown parking deck last month.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Jurgens recommends taking a different approach than usual for the construction contract for the deck. Instead of awarding a fixed construction contract amount once pre-construction is complete, Baldwin & Shell would handle both phases of the work to ensure construction plans are developed early on with the architects and engineers. The plan is to pay the firm $40,000 for pre-construction services and lock in a construction services fee of 5.5 percent of the total cost of construction, which is expected to be around $6.8 million.

“The way these contracts work is we get the benefit of the contractor on the front end, which very much helps expedite and makes a better product in the long run,” said Jurgens.

The 246-space, three-story deck is set to be built on the southeast corner of Spring Street and School Avenue. Plans include a 3,000-square-foot, ground-level liner building and a two-story Walton Arts Center administration building to replace the center’s current offices, which are set to be demolished to make room for the deck.

Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty said he liked the idea of the construction management contract approach for the multifaceted parking deck.

“I think over the last decade or so, this has become the de facto way for most large institutions to do large projects,” said Petty. “I know it’s tempting for smaller groups to try and save money by having their architects or engineers do this part of the process, but the other way would be pennywise and possibly foolish.”

Aldermen will consider the contract during the next scheduled City Council meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.

Construction of the deck is set to begin this fall and last 12 to 18 months.