Delays on sports complex could cost Oxford another $311K
by Patrick McCreless
Sep 12, 2012 | 4773 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD – The cost of the city’s multi-million-dollar sports complex project might soon increase by more than $311,000 due to project delays.

The Oxford City Council tabled a $311,417.50 change order from the Taylor Corporation during its regular Tuesday meeting. The council wanted more time to ensure all financial figures regarding the change order were correct before making a decision.

Taylor Corp. is the company contracted to build the approximately $4.3 million sports complex across from the Oxford Exchange. The project covers approximately 361 acres and will eventually include fields for soccer, football, baseball and softball.

Lance Taylor, president of Taylor Corp., attended the council’s pre-meeting Tuesday to discuss the change order. Taylor said the change order covered months of contract delay fees and state required storm water impact reports needed every time it rained at the site.

“We haven’t been able to generate any revenue on this project … we need to cover our overhead,” Taylor said.

Construction at the site has been on hold since possible American Indian remains were found there in February 2010. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted the project until a mitigation plan was in place that included, among other things, a full archaeological survey of the site. It took the city more than a year to negotiate the plan with the Corps, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma. Since the plan’s approval, archaeologists have been surveying the site, which has delayed construction there even further.

So far, the city has paid around $400,000 in project shutdown fees to Taylor Corp.

Though the site has remained dormant for more than two years, construction could soon start again. Stacye Hathorn, state archaeologist with the Alabama Historical Commission, said the archaeological field work was recently completed at the site.

“They have certainly moved along on schedule and complied,” Hathorn said of the city during a Tuesday phone interview.

Hathorn noted that the city has yet to file a full report on the archaeological survey to the historical commission.

“It usually takes about three times as long as the survey to do the report,” Hathorn said.

Fred Denney, Oxford’s project manager, said with the field work complete, construction could soon start again.

“We could start work on it now,” Denney said. “But we need a vote from the council to decide to restart the building.”

In other business, the council agreed to spend $80,250 for engineering services on a road construction project on U.S. 78 and Barry Street.

“They will be installing turn lanes on the north and south side of Highway 78,” Denney said.

Denney said the Metropolitan Planning Organization will refund the city 80 percent of the cost for the engineering services. The MPO is a federally-funded transportation policy-making and planning organization.

Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star
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