Avon Town Council rejects pricey bid for Nottingham Park bathrooms | VailDaily.com

Avon Town Council rejects pricey bid for Nottingham Park bathrooms

'Why is the toilet going to cost more than the stage?'

The 6-stall restroom facility on the north side of Nottingham Park, near the beach and volleyball courts, was expected to cost $540,000. The only bid received was for $3.5 million.
Town of Avon/Courtesy photo

The Avon Town Council unanimously rejected the only bid that it received to construct bathrooms at Nottingham Park after the price came in at over four times the estimated budget for the project.

The town received one bid from A.D. Miller Services Inc., a contractor based out of Centennial, at $10.4 million for the 41-stall restroom building on the east side of the park and $3.5 million for a six-stall restroom facility at the north side near the beach and volleyball courts. At nearly $14 million, the total proposed cost is far beyond the original estimate of $3.4 million.

All seven council members balked at the heavy price tag, with Chico Thuon highlighting the disturbing reality that the construction of the east side bathrooms would cost twice as much as the Performance Pavilion itself.

“Why is the toilet going to cost more than the stage?” Thuon said. “I can’t say yes to this type of spending. It would be a catastrophe for me to say that we need to spend $10 million on toilets. We might get away with porta potties for a little longer.”

Building permanent restrooms has been a top priority for Avon representatives and constituents for years now. The latest Avon Community Survey, administered in 2021, showed that 55% of respondents felt that the town needed to build full-service restrooms at the park and that permanent restrooms to serve the beach area were the top improvement that constituents desired at the park.

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While designs were finalized in 2022, the town has struggled to find contractors to complete the work. The first round of bidding in June 2022 turned up zero prospective bidders, and now the first offer has been made by a non-local company that is vastly outside of the town’s price range.

Town manager Eric Heil said that staff has reached out to local contractors to stoke interest in the project, but the universal response has been that they are already booked.

“It’s been an unprecedentedly difficult bidding environment,” Heil said. “Local companies can’t find the workforce, they’re getting a lot of work so they’re just not available and we’re seeing a lot of hedging, where companies are already full so they throw out these bids like, ‘Well, if you’re really willing to pay that much we’ll do it.'”

The council members unanimously rejected the bid and are now looking toward the next steps to address the desire for permanent bathrooms. They agreed that the bathrooms at the north end should be prioritized but supported looking into pre-fabricated or simplified designs to bring down the cost.

“People are begging for bathrooms out there and we heard a lot of local sentiment in those surveys and with people at the park, so we’ve got to figure out something,” said Council member Lindsay Hardy.

The Avon Town Council is reconsidering whether a 41-stall permanent restroom is necessary given a planned scale-down in special events.
Town of Avon/Courtesy photo

As for the east park improvements, council members are reconsidering the necessity of a 41-stall restroom to opt for something smaller and more simply designed.

The idea for the larger restroom was to meet the demand of summer concert events that bring thousands to the park as opposed to bringing in porta potties, but Mayor Amy Phillips noted that with the town moving toward a more locally-focused event lineup it may not be essential to have such a large facility. 

“Let’s get this council and CASE (Cultural, Arts and Special Events) on the same path for what our 10-year vision is and then build the restrooms for that,” Phillips said.

The space for the east-side restrooms and improvements has already been cleared in preparation for construction and may be turned into an extended park area while new designs are considered.

The space cleared for restroom construction on the east side of Nottingham Park may be finished as an extended park area while the council considers future options.
Town of Avon/Courtesy photo

Council members felt that it would be prudent to hold onto the designs and have the projects ready to go if contracting demands in the valley slow down and a local company becomes interested in the project. Until then, they will be considering “quick fixes” that address immediate needs but are no closer to bringing permanent restrooms to Nottingham Park this year.

The jarring prices also sparked a need to look into all of the town’s potential capital projects and make a prioritized list with the volatile bidding environment in mind.

“I think it’s important that we start looking at all of the large projects we have because they’re adding up to way beyond our means,” Heil said. “We do have reserves, but the numbers are at a different level than we’ve dealt with before.”

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