January 28, 2004

Bailey Project Postponed

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Major renovation work on Bailey Hall has been delayed over half a year because “the contracting bids came in too high,” according to Linda Grace-Kobas, interim vice president for communications and media relations.

Last July, Patrick S. McGuire Contracting and Crista Construction offered bids for the project.

“Those bids were rejected … they came in at about a million dollars over budget,” said James Kazda, associate director of contract colleges facilities.

Kazda said the bids were too high not only because during the course of the planning “the project increased in breadth,” but also because of an unusually high amount of activity in the central New York area during late Spring of last year.

“We were victims of the market,” he said.

Originally, the project was slated for a budget of $13.1 million, $10.6 million of which was to come from New York State, as Bailey Hall is part of the contract colleges at the University. Gov. George E. Pataki presented the contribution to Cornell during a visit four years ago.

“Bailey Hall is one of our older buildings, constructed in 1912, and it’s in need of a long-awaited, comprehensive renovation,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, former vice president for University relations, when the project began.

Though the building may have been in great need of attention, Kazda pointed out that “originally we were just going to upgrade some of the systems.”

However, soon the demands of other members of the Cornell community became apparent. “As we went through the project [we decided to] enhance program space, add a green room, add a humidity controlled instrument storage room. … The project increased in breadth,” Kazda said.

“We’ve redesigned the project to narrow the scope. … We will also be cutting back on a few architectural design elements,” he added.

Kazda also noted that the contract colleges facilities directors will be seeking more funding from the University for the project in addition to cutting a few costs.

One of the groups effected by the changing status of Bailey Hall, was the Cornell Concert Commission.

The renovation postponement “wasn’t a huge deal. It was good, because we could have one last show. We had Ryan Adams [at Bailey] in December. Our advisor keeps us up to date with venue changes … now we will be planning events for Barton. In fact, we just confirmed Guster at Barton for March,” said Kristen Massaro ’04, former executive director for the CCC.

As for planning for the future of Bailey, Kazda said project advertising went out for review yesterday. Opening bidding will begin in Feb. 24. During the period between now and then, construction firms will “collect the individual pieces of the contract into a single bid,” Kazda explained.

“Whoever has the lowest dollar amount will get the contract,” Kazda said, noting that an accepted bid should be fair and reasonable.

The project should take about two years to complete. “We are looking to have this project completed sometime during the ’06 to ’07 academic year,” Kazda said. “The market seems better now … we expect more bid activity than last year.”

Archived article by Brian Kaviar