Thyen-Clark Cultural Center construction bids under consideration

The LLC managing the construction of the Thyen Clark Cultural Center in Jasper heard bids on the construction of the new development Wednesday afternoon.

With six bids ranging from $13,856,000 to $15,820,000, members of the Jasper Library Board and Jasper Arts Commission expressed they were satisfied with the numbers that had been presented for the project set to combine the two entities into a single building at the corner of Mill and Third streets.

Along with base bids, the companies provided volume-based material bids as well as many alternatives for aesthetic features and some functional design options.

The bids were tabled until they could be reviewed by the boards, LLC and their construction design firm, Hafer Associates. Hafer will examine the bids to determine the best course for the LLC to take for the construction contract and make a recommendation for the firm to complete the work.

The city and Jasper Public Library set up the LLC to manage bonding and construction for the Thyen Clark Cultural Center project and to allow the public entities to circumvent the requirement limiting municipal taxing units to carry a debt greater than 2 percent of their net assessed value. The state allows taxing units to create these LLCs to allow large construction projects to move forward.

The new LLC is managed by the Arts Director Kyle Ruper and Library Director Christine Golden. They are directed by a three-member board, consisting of Molly Buehler, Mark Fierst and Tina Mair.

Library Board President Dean Vonderheide stated he was happy that two of the lowest bids came from local companies, Jasper Lumber and Krempp Construction.

“This will be a signature for local construction companies,” he said. “They want to be involved.”

While Wednesday’s meeting covered construction costs, furnishing the building is another matter. Vonderheide added the groups were hoping local companies would step forward to assist with furnishings.

“This could be their showroom,” he said.

Once the decision on the contract is made, officials are hoping construction will start by April of next year.

“I think the idea is that as soon as the weather breaks, they can hit it as hard as they can,” Jasper Arts Commission President Mike Jones said.

Jones pointed out that Tuesday was the four-year anniversary of the two groups coming together to tour the former factory together to consider the idea of teaming up for the cultural center.

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