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Zoo project advances as city pleased with low bids

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City officials were pleased with the bids opened Thursday morning for the pavilion project at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park.

DEW Builders, Adams, submitted the lowest bid of $228,628 of the seven companies that turned in proposals to the city’s Purchasing Department.

The other base bids ranged from $253,657 to $479,700.

“I’m happy with the numbers,” purchasing manager Amy M. Pastuf said.

In February, city officials had projected that the cost of the pavilion, which would replace the old aviary structure, was going to jump to $435,000. But they said they hoped that soliciting the bids so early in the construction season would help keep costs down.

The city’s Engineering Department must examine the bids and make a recommendation to the Watertown City Council. Council members are expected to take up the bids at their March 18 meeting.

The other base bids were: $253,657 from Con Tech Building Systems, Gouverneur; $269,900 from Northern Tier Contracting, Gouverneur; $270,256 from Continental Construction, Gouverneur; $334,108.76 from EJ Construction Group, Brewerton; $462,664 from Central New York Construction, Central Square, and $479,700 from Median Construction, Colton.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he was pleased with the low bid, noting that council members also must consider three alternative bids. They are for a cedar-shake roof, stone veneer columns and a stamped, brick-like slab.

The selected contractor would tear down the aviary, install a concrete slab and supply the city with a pre-engineered, 50-by-50-foot cross-shaped metal pavilion. The pavilion would be similar to the one installed last year at the J.B. Wise parking lot north of Public Square.

Construction is still slated for early spring.

The zoo project would include landscaping and an audiovisual system and a wall to accommodate that system. It would be used for events such as classes, presentations and private parties.

The project has gone through a series of major changes since the Thompson Park Conservancy, the group that runs the zoo, first approached the city in 2009 about tearing down the aviary. Last summer, the council scrapped an indoor educational facility because its projected cost had risen to more than $1 million.

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