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Arts of Collin County Construction Bid Saves Millions

The Arts of Collin County Commission Board of Directors and their Executive Director, Mike Simpson have invested months of strategic planning and discussion on the importance of timing to bid Phase 1 of the project. Based on recent results of other capital projects awarded in the three Owner cities of Allen, Frisco and Plano during 2009, the Arts of Collin County decided to bid the project in order to secure the best possible construction price. In addition, by proceeding with the bidding, the Arts of Collin County Board of Directors will establish an exact figure of the final donations needed to be raised to proceed with Phase I.

In November 2009, bid packages were sent to contractors and on December 9, 2009 bids were opened at the offices of Hunt Construction Group, the construction manager on the project. Hunt Construction Group team members and Mike Simpson opened bids from 265 contractors for over six hours. Hunt Executives stated it was the largest response to a bid they have ever seen.

The result: a cost reduction of over 24% versus the projected cost in May of 2008 and a savings of over $16 million in cost projections from early 2009. “Based on everything we had seen in other capital bids, this was the absolute best time to go to bid,” stated Mike Simpson, Executive Director of the Arts of Collin County. “Our total estimated cost in late 2008 and early 2009 was projected in the $86 million range, and now the initial guaranteed maximum price has come in at $69.9 million – we are ecstatic,” Continues Simpson. The final Guaranteed Maximum price will be presented by Hunt Construction Group by February 26.

The initial maximum price allows prospective donors to have a clear understanding of what the current fundraising goal is. “We want all the companies and individuals considering donating to the project to know just how close we are to breaking ground,” explained Bobby Baggett, President of the Arts of Collin County Board. “Before, we had been stating over 80% of the funding was in place. With the current construction bids, we can now announce that we are 95% of goal. Not only is this fantastic news for the North Texas arts community but it’s also a very timely project that will contribute greatly to the region’s continued economic recovery and growth. By taking advantage of this window of opportunity for these historical cost savings, this also ensures that we are delivering a financially prudent project for our three Owner cities, donors and citizens,” continued Baggett.

“The Arts of Collin County still needs an estimated $5 million to break ground and we are finalizing a plan to make that happen,” states Mike Simpson. “We plan to break ground by April or May. The Arts of Collin County has been successful in raising over $10.4 million in donations, however, some of that amount is payable in pledges during and after the construction period projected to go from 2010-2012, and just like any capital project involving pledges, not 100% of those pledges can be counted toward getting construction started. “Eighty-two percent of our pledges are from businesses and we are confident these dollars will be paid over the construction period,” said Simpson.

“The Arts of Collin County is now urging everyone to step forward and donate to this project. We still have major naming rights available for the 100+ acre site, including the arts park, performing arts hall and the theater itself, plus many other exciting elements.” Simpson said, “We know several companies and individuals will now step forward and make these important, significant contributions. Just as the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts did not have their major naming sponsor (now the AT&T Performing Arts Center) until about 30 days from grand opening. The Arts of Collin County is confident that high profile naming opportunities will be committed now that ground breaking is only two or three months away.”

Kevin Cain, Project Executive of Hunt Construction Group stated, “We are ready to go. We have some great companies dedicated to making this one of the finest performing arts centers in the state. It is a beautiful design, on a fantastic site with great accessibility.”

About The Arts of Collin County

The Arts of Collin County (ACC) is a nationally recognized, innovative, public-private partnership to develop a 100+ acre arts park. Co-owned by the cities of Allen, Frisco and Plano, with operational support by member cities, Fairview and Melissa, the development of the arts park is supported with $57 million in bond monies, up to $3 million in Collin County Open Space Grant funds, and an additional $10 million financial support from private individuals, corporations and foundations. Located at Sam Rayburn Tollway/State Highway 121 and just east of Custer Road, the arts park will be completed in phases, with a 2,100-seat performing arts hall, performance meadow, and hike and bike trails included in Phase One. To contribute and learn more, visit the ACC website at www.artsofcollincounty.org or call 214-495-5810.

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