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Civic Center project advances

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston City Council took an early step toward renovations to the Civic Center Monday night.

Council members voted to allow city officials to solicit design-build services for the project.

Council members also approved a $1.16 million agreement between the city and O'Dell Associates Inc. in which the company will provide consulting services for the Civic Center project.

Charleston's half-cent sales tax and funds from the city's tax increment financing district are earmarked to fund the renovations, which are estimated to cost about $50 million.

The city is able to conduct the renovations through a design- build process under its Home Rule authority, City Manager David Molgaard said.

"Our goal is to come up with a number and ask them to design something according to what we can afford," he said.

Design-build essentially means the architect and contractor are under the same contract, in contrast to a designbid- build project, in which the city hires an architect and then solicits bids based on the architectural renderings, Molgaard said. "That puts the risk of the design and the build on one party," he said.

O'Dell Associates will assist the city in securing a design- build firm, and will also serve as a form of "quality assurance," Molgaard said.

If a 2006 market demand analysis is used, highlights of the renovated Civic Center could include a new ballroom up to 20,000 square feet, a minimum of 5,000 square feet of new meeting space, improved kitchen facilities and updated aesthetics, among other things.

Renovations are expected to be complete in just under three years.

Once bids for a design-build contractor, a five-member selection committee made up of city and civic center representatives will narrow the bids to three firms. From there, the three finalists will submit more detailed renderings before one is selected.

"There will be an opportunity for input," Molgaard told council members. "I expect it's going to be a fairly interactive and public process."

In other business, council:

Authorized city officials to enter into a 25-year lease with the state Division of Highways to place a new Charleston gateway sign along Interstate 64.

Authorized business and occupation tax refunds for Midtown Partners and Davy Tree Expert Co. for quarters in 2013. Both businesses overpaid their B&O taxes by $9,000 and $16,329.78, respectively.

Voted to purchase a Project Accounting Module from Tyler Technologies at a cost of $29,200 for the Eden Inforum Gold System for the city accounting department. The purchase includes maintenance services.


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