BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There was a major change on Friday involving the new baseball stadium in Biloxi. The city council voted in a special session to terminate the city's contract with Yates Construction, which had been serving as construction manager for the ballpark project.
The council has decided to do away with the construction manager approach and take bids for a general contractor instead. Council members are convinced the change will save time and money.
While construction crews stayed busy preparing the ballpark site, the city council voted to change the construction process on this $36 million project.
City leaders terminated the construction manager agreement with Yates, in favor of hiring a general contractor instead.
Although there was zero discussion during the meeting, council members afterward told WLOX News it's a move to save money.
"It will decrease the price, and enable them to kind of expedite and move forward a lot faster," said Councilman Felix Gines.
"We've removed the ability to require numerous different contractors to be involved in the process, which eliminates time and increases cost savings for us," said Councilman Robert Deming III.
Yates Construction can still submit a bid to become the general contractor for the ballpark work. The only thing that should be different is cost.
"We've determined, after looking at the first couple of bid packages, that we can save money by going to a general contractor rather than a construction manager. We don't know yet how much it's going to save, but we think it will be significant," said attorney Ron Peresich, who has worked with the city on the ballpark project.
With this move, can the city stick to the ballpark budget?
"I hope so. That's always been my desire from the beginning. You always hear me say the same thing. We have $36 million to spend. So anytime we can save costs, that's what we're doing," said Councilman George Lawrence.
City Administrator David Nichols says the bid advertisement for the general contractor work will go out shortly. He says they could hire a contractor by the end of next month.
"Hopefully, we'll get interest from maybe the folks who built the stadium in Pensacola and recently built one in Montgomery. Hopefully, some of the bigger general contractors locally will bid on it, and we'll get some real competitive bids," said Nichols.