Ole Miss Athletics Director Pete Boone met with the architects of the planned baseball stadium expansion yesterday to try to get a firmer understanding of why the project, supposedly in the $12 million range, was bid at over $18 million.
"The biggest differences were in materials costs. A lot of materials have gone up substantially since we began the planning of this project," said Boone. "When you throw in systems costs, labor costs and time factors costing more than anticipated, it didn't take long for the bid to go $6 million higher than we projected. It was a $100,000 here and $100,000 there type of deal, mostly, but there were also some major cost differences."
For now, there are no concrete, pardon the pun, answers to the dilemma.
"Everyone is going back to the drawing board," Boone said. "The architects are going to try to find ways to save some money and we are going to look at ways to structure the financing to get it done."
All of that takes time, time that is likely to delay the project. As it stands right now, it will be difficult to formulate a new plan of attack, figure out needed savings, show the new plan to the IHL for approval and go through the bid process again before – rough estimate – August.
Boone said he has made no decisions whether to do the expansion in stages, as he suggested might be the case in earlier statements, or try to bite the whole bullet in one building period. He did say he will not "cut back" on the quality or size of the expansion.
"All I know right now is that I have a fiscal responsibility to make sure we are doing this major project the right way and we can afford to do it the way everyone wants it done," he closed. "This obviously created a challenge the magnitude of which we did not anticipate, but we are charged with finding solutions and we will do that in this case."
Boone has another situation on his hands as well. He's currently trying to raise roughly $10-12 million for a basketball practice facility, which must also get done, and a $2 million project for tennis renovations.
"We are optimistic we will get these things done. We are just faced with a bigger challenge than originally thought," closed Boone.
Boone talks about baseball stadium
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