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Local Waide Construction gets recreation center contract

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City of Roswell crews have begun site work for the new million recreation and aquatic center project at Cielo Grande Recreation Park in northwest Roswell. City councilors awarded the construction contract Thursday. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The city of Roswell has awarded a large construction contract, one involving the $18.1 million project to build the new recreation and aquatic center, to Waide Construction.

A preliminary footprint of the recreation and aquatic center. (Submitted Graphic)

Roswell City Councilors approved Waide as the contractor at their Thursday meeting as part of the consent agenda, which meant no discussion occurred.

City crews are now working at the site of the Cielo Grande Recreation Area at the corner of North Montana Avenue and West College Boulevard to do preliminary work with sewer, water and electrical lines. Construction on the project is expected to begin within the next weeks.

The city Engineering Department chose to use the Cooperative Educational Services cooperative purchasing system instead of an open bidding process in awarding the contract. According to its website, CES was first established in 1979 for New Mexico public schools but has since been made available to other government entities and some nonprofits. The system provides a way for registered companies, vendors or professional service firms to be considered for projects advertised through the system.

Infrastructure Committee Chair Jeanine Corn Best said city staff had the authority to decide the procurement method but that she favored awarding the contract to a Roswell firm.

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“If you look at it, Waide Construction is, from what I understand, 99 percent Roswell-based,” Best said. “So we have our own city people working on our own recreation center. … This way, our jobs stay home. That is what makes me more comfortable than anything, is that our jobs stay home.”

According to agenda materials submitted by the city, “The quality and success of this team (Waide Construction) has been proven with several projects throughout the city.”

Best said that she is happy that the project is getting underway.

“I am excited to see that we are going to have groundbreaking and we can get started,” said Best. “I am ecstatic that we have got this moving forward.”

An aquatic center and a combined recreation and aquatic center for the city has been discussed numerous times during the city’s history, with voters rejecting plans in 1997 and 2008 to build such facilities using general obligation bonds repaid by property taxes.

Now the project ultimately will be paid by gross receipts taxes. The city has sold $20 million in bonds that will be repaid during the next 20 years by increases in three gross receipts taxes approved by the City Council in February. The tax rate on applicable goods and services sold in the city will increase from 7.5 percent to 7.75 percent, with some taxes taking effect this year and one in 2018.

Expected to open in October 2018, the $9 million recreation center will replace the now closed Yucca Center and will include a large multipurpose area, fitness rooms and basketball courts. The $9.1 million aquatic center will include an indoor lap pool, an outdoor recreation pool and an outdoor slide and toddler section.

The remaining costs associated with the project includes interest payments on the bonds.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.