Contractor picked for Bay gymnasium project

ESCANABA — Bay College has chosen a general contractor for the first phase of a project meant to expand and renovate Bay’s gymnasium facility and other areas of the Northern Lights YMCA building, where this facility is located.

“We awarded the contract to [Roy] Ness,” Bay College President Laura Coleman said. This decision was made at a special meeting of the Bay College Board of Trustees Tuesday.

According to Coleman, Roy Ness Contracting and Sales, Inc. of Escanaba — which made a bid of $100,000 to provide general contracting services for this phase of the project — presented the lowest bid for these services.

In a meeting held this June, the board accepted the Hannahville Indian Community’s contribution of $4.8 million through November 2042 towards the project and voted in favor of going out for a $3 million private bond. The bond will be paid back over the next 24 years, and the Hannahville Indian Community will make regular contributions to the college to cover both the bond itself and $1.8 million in interest.

During the June meeting, the board also spoke with Mark Blomquist — principal architect for Blomquist Architects — about the project. Blomquist worked with the board as its members determined whether to use a standard bidding process (in which plans are fully completed before bidding begins) or a “fast-track” process (in which plans are still in the works when bidding begins and a general contractor is hired earlier on in the process as a team member, resulting in multiple bids and allowing for work to begin before plans are fully completed) for the project. Ultimately, the latter process was chosen by the board. Coleman said work on the project’s first phase is expected to begin in the near future.

“It’ll start very soon,” she said.