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Smithfield rejects pricey concession bids, purchases outdoor lighting for sports complex

The Smithfield Town Council rejected all the bids it received for building a concession stand in the Joseph Luter Jr. sports complex Wednesday night, because the prices were too high, council members said.

The lowest of the four bids, which came from David A. Nice Builders Inc. in Williamsburg, was $873,800, Town Manager Peter Stephenson said. Project engineers had estimated closer to $450,000, he said. The priciest aspect of the design, which included a concession stand, storage space and a multipurpose room, was the brick building material, according to councilwoman Connie Chapman.

"We're going to ask people to give us options other than a brick exterior," Chapman said. "That was a major expense. It ended up being around $700,000 – we can't do that."

The complex, a 37.2- acre sports complex with five baseball fields, a football and soccer field and parking, will be built by R.A.D. Sports for no more than $2.89 million. The cost is funded through a $1 million donation from Smithfield Foods, a $2 million donation from Joseph Luter III, and a town land purchase for the site.

Stephenson said by phone he plans to meet with council members, project engineers and the construction manager next week to discuss rebidding the concession facility. He's not yet sure if the bid request will be redesigned or left with more options. He hopes to have it posted by the end of the month, but said it's possible the council could wait until after the holidays.

Stephenson said preliminary site work has just begun at 900 W. Main St., where the complex will be located.

The town also approved a $400,000 purchase Wednesday night of outdoor lighting for the four fields from Iowa-based company called Musco Lighting.

"We're excited," Chapman said. "We're hoping by next summer, maybe mid-summer, the project will be completed."

Smith can be reached at 757-510-1663.

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