Bath explores revamping McMann athletic complex

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BATH — A planning and design project at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex on Congress Avenue – alongside construction of a new high school – could begin next year.

Following a request for proposals, the city on Oct. 19 opened bids from two applicants: the SMRT architectural and engineering firm of Portland, and South Portland-based Claster, which is teaming with the Wright-Pierce, with offices in Topsham.

The city’s newly formed Facilities Committee is due to select a firm Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The city’s RFP called for two phases of services.

The first phase, with $10,000 budgeted for the current fiscal year, involves an assessment and report on the condition of the complex. The initial phase will also determine the wants and needs of stakeholders, including the city and Regional School Unit 1.

The first phase also calls for conceptual graphic plans of developments and improvements at the site, including a new maintenance facility and storage area for city equipment; expanded and improved parking and pedestrian access, and locations of future improvement phases. It also includes conceptual cost estimates for all construction phases.

The Phase 1 work is due to be complete by March 1, 2018.

An artificial turf field at the complex, installed in 2013 after several years of fundraising, is to be reviewed as a piece of the overall complex, but no changes are planned, City Planning Director Andrew Deci said in an interview Oct. 19.

Both applicants came in under the projected cost, with SMRT proposing $9,500, and Claster and Wright-Pierce bidding $9,800, Deci noted.

The city budgeted about $40,000 in fiscal 2018 for the second phase, which would depend on successful completion of the first phase, and come under a subsequent contract.

That phase, for which the applicants did not submit numbers, would involve coordination of site design services for the first implementation phase – such as survey, drafting and design work – as well as of required permitting at the city, state and federal levels.

The phase also entails development of drawings, ready for construction and permitting of “acute need facilities” such as bathrooms and maintenance and city storage buildings.

With a new Morse High School proposed across Congress Avenue, north of the Wing Farm business park – contingent on passage of a Nov. 7 referendum – “we are acutely looking at the connections between the high school site and McMann athletic field,” Deci said.

He also noted that McMann is 50 years old and the maintenance facility is in poor condition.

“We’ve known that we needed to replace that,” Deci said, adding that “it seemed like this was the time for us to start that effort.”

The Facilities Committee, established by the City Council in recent months, is charged with looking not just at McMann, but also to determine the maintenance needs of other city properties.

Deci expects that by late February or early March 2018, “we will have a basic conceptual master plan of what we want (McMann) to eventually look like, along with cost estimating and some phased approach to that work.”

“We may have implementation out there over the course of 10 years, depending on what comes out as being needs at that facility,” he added.

Who pays for what will also be determined, Deci noted, explaining that the city, RSU 1 – McMann’s primary user for games and practices – and private funding could all share that burden.

The improvements could occur as the walls of the new high school are raised, Deci said. Completion of that building is due the fall of 2020.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A maintenance building and bathrooms at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex on Congress Avenue in Bath, where improvements are being considered.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.