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Local businesses playing big part in Bull Street baseball stadium construction

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More than $16.27 million has been subcontracted to local businesses for work on the Bull Street minor league baseball stadium, recently named Spirit Communication’s Park, part of a successful effort to hire out nearly half of the project through the city’s Subcontractor Outreach Program.

Approximately 86% of the construction will be subcontracted, according to a recent Columbia City Council agenda item, far exceeding the initial requirement of 49%. Twenty-four of the 33 bid packages went to local companies, five of which are considered disadvantaged business enterprises.

The area winners were among nearly 90 total proposals submitted for the project.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased that we were able to exceed the requirement on that one,” said Gregory Tucker, the city of Columbia’s chief project manager for the 165-acre development. “We’re very glad as much of it went to locals and disadvantaged business as could be done.”

Original prerequisites asked for 40% of the work to go to local enterprises – a goal exceeded by 191% –with an additional 35% going to disadvantaged businesses, which was surpassed by 20%. Companies had to be locally owned and operated and within the seven counties surrounding Richland and Lexington counties to be considered local, or they had to be a minority-owned, woman-owned or small business to be classified as disadvantaged, according to Ayesha Driggers, compliance administrator in the Utilities and Engineering Department.

Columbia-based companies Etheridge Electrical Contractors and WB Guimarin headlined the selected bids. Etheridge’s $3.427 million bid was the lowest among electrical entries, while WB Guimarin put in a $2.273 million submission for plumbing and another $1.595 million for HVAC. Charleston-based Palmetto Construction Group has the largest low bid of the subcontractors, with $5.697 million for concrete.

Pelion’s D&T Steel (more than $2.21 million) and Swansea’s LAD Corporation (more than $1.42 for site work) were also among the low bids.

“Our goal has been just to increase the local business participation in the project,” Driggers said. “I think this project is a great avenue to assist those local subcontractors in participating.”

The guaranteed maximum price of the project is now $27,041,475, down more than $1.6 million from the original budget. But that cost is misleading, Tucker said, as the design of the facility was customized to meet the initial number set some time ago.

“As a matter of fact, that was our drive,” he said. “To be at that budget. So the design was tailored to meet the budget.”

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.