Merriam accepts McCarthy Construction’s final bid package for new community center

Merriam community center
McCarthy Building Companies began site grade work late last year on the new community center between Slater Street and Ikea Way in Merriam.

The Merriam city council has accepted McCarthy Construction’s third and final bid package on the construction of the city’s new community center.

The Merriam council in its Monday meeting unanimously approved the construction company’s $9.6 million bid package along with a guaranteed maximum price for the full construction project: $32,500,205. McCarthy is leading development of the Merriam Community Center, which will be located at Vavra Park just east of city hall.

The guaranteed maximum price of the project is divided into three parts:

  • $24.8 million to construct the community center
  • $6.6 million to construct the parking structure and related sitework
  • A contingency fund of $1.1 million.
A rendering of the pool design for the outdoor portion of the aquatics center.

Merriam voters in September 2017 approved a 10-year, 1/4 percent sales tax that allowed the city to issue $24 million in bonds to pay for a new community center and aquatics facilities. The city already had $6 million in cash reserves, making up the total cost of the project at $30 million. The one-quarter percent sales tax takes effect for 10 years to help cover the bond payment.

When city staff and leaders reviewed their funding options for building a parking structure, which will be used for both the community center and the planned Johnson County Library branch to be built on the site, they decided to use $6.6 million from the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) fund.

TIF generates revenue from additional sales tax created through TIF-related private development projects.

A group of Merriam residents have submitted a protest petition to the city, saying they don’t believe the current plans sync up with what residents were told about the project prior to the mail-in election on the sales tax and bond issue. The group, Merriam Concerned Citizens, opposes the design of the aquatics center and the agreement that would bring a new library branch to the site, among other issues.

In addition to the $32.5 million for the construction of the project, Merriam will cover an additional $4.1 million in soft costs for professional services, furniture, furnishings and equipment and contingency. Assistant city administrator Meredith Hauck said the community center project remains on time and on budget with a total of $36.6 million.