Government & Politics

Council approves construction contract for Merriam’s new $30 million community center

The Merriam City Council selected California-based Aquatic Design Group for the construction of the pools at the new community center, which should open in 2020.
The Merriam City Council selected California-based Aquatic Design Group for the construction of the pools at the new community center, which should open in 2020. Photo provided

The Merriam City Council unanimously approved a contract March 12 with St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies for the construction of a 66,000-square-foot community center slated to open in 2020.

McCarthy Building Companies will oversee the design and construction of the $30 million building at Vavra Park, 6040 Slater St.

Among the conditions in Monday’s approval was a 3.25-percent fee by McCarthy for the total cost of the project. City officials said that number could be around $800,000, but figures won’t be definite until December when council members vote on an addendum for the contract setting the guaranteed maximum price for the project.

The final contract addresses other key issues like general terms and conditions, payment schedules and insurance policies

In addition to the recent contract approval, California-based Aquatic Design Group was selected for the construction of the facility’s pools.

“We ultimately chose Aquatic Design Group because of their experience designing indoor and outdoor aquatic spaces that work together, and their emphasis on making sound operational and mechanical decisions as part of the design,” Meredith Hauck, Merriam’s assistant city administrator, said of the selection process.

The 35-year-old company designed the Summit Waves, a water park in Lee’s Summit.

The new facility — paid for through a 10-year, quarter-cent sales tax, which took effect Jan. 1 — will include indoor and outdoor pools, a state-of-the art fitness center, and an indoor walking track.

Merriam residents voted in September to build a new facility rather than spending $20 million to renovate the existing Irene B. French Community Center at 5701 Merriam Drive.

The city estimates a March 2020 completion date, but officials said it will take additional time to get the building ready for business.

“Once we get the building, we will have to train our Parks & Rec staff, get all the new equipment in, get it all ready and up and running,” Hauck said. “So, we are not ready to release what we think that opening date will be.”

Residents can participate in shaping the new facility as early as next month. A design committee, made up of residents and stakeholders appointed by the mayor, will work throughout the duration of the project to offer feedback regarding the design and building process. Merriam will hold open houses for residents to share feedback on May 9 and June 21 at City Hall.

Merriam also recently made renovations to its police headquarters at 9010 W. 62nd St.

Upgrades to the facility included space and ventilation improvements, the creation of more locker-room space and a new HVAC system. The $2.4-million project took eight months to complete.

During construction, police were housed at Merriam City Hall and the Irene B. French Community Center.

“The old HVAC system was ineffective and in constant need of repair, and our property room was not properly ventilated or large enough for our operations, which was a safety issue that needed attention,” Police Chief Michael Daniels said. “Now, our officers will be able to operate more efficiently and safely.”

Daniels said the redesigned space also allows for more collaboration among officers.