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Great Falls-based firms hired to oversee $20 million recreation center

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The city of Great Falls has received a $10 million federal grant that will allow construction of a $20 million recreation and aquatics center on the east end of town. (Photo: LPW Architecture)

The City Commission has hired two local firms to guide the design and construction of a $20 million aquatics and recreation center on the east end of Great Falls. 

By a 4-1 vote, commissioners awarded the design, permitting and construction management of the project to L’Heureux Page Werner Architecture (LPW) and TD&H Engineering, which teamed up to submit a proposal.

The motion also directed City Manager Greg Doyon to negotiate the fees and execute the contract documents.

The Great Falls-based firms will be in charge of coming up with a final design, handing the bid documents and managing the construction of the 50,000 square-foot facility on 10 acres south of the Siebel Soccer complex. 

“We’re just ready to hit the ground running and start working with them,” Park and Recreation Director Steve Herrig said.

LPW and TD&H will be joined by four subcontractors in overseeing the project: Nagel Sport of Edmonds, Wash.; Pros Consulting, Indianapolis; Morrison Maierle, Missoula; and Water Technology of Beaver Dam, Wisc. 

“Each one of them has their own individual specialization that they bring to the table, Herrig said.

Herrig noted that LPW and TD&H have significant experience in dealing with the tricky soils of Great Falls.

They also are familiar with working under the National Environmental Protection Act, or NEPA, process, which is required because of a $10 million grant the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment awarded the city for the project.

Some concerns raised

Commissioner Rick Tryon voted no after raising concerns that there was an appearance LPW and TD&H had an unfair advantage in getting the consulting contract because those two firms assisted the city in applying for the DOD grant.

Tryon recommended delaying the vote to give the public more time to study the companies that applied through the city’s “request for proposals” to serve as the project consultant.

“You don’t think their involvement in the process early on and being involved in that early proposal gave them any kind of unfair advantage over any of the other firms that submitted RFPs?” Tryon said.

Mayor Bob Kelly, who sat in on interviews with the finalists, said the process was fair with nobody having an advantage or disadvantage.

“I was quite convinced of that,” Kelly said.

More: City seeks consultant to oversee $20 million rec/aquatics center design, construction

LPWs’ and TD&Hs’ help in the grant application was, in Kelly’s mind, a disadvantage in the competition because it showed other firms their early design opening it up to criticism.

“You don’t think their involvement in the process early on and being involved in that early proposal gave them any kind of unfair advantage over any of the other firms that submitted RFPs?”

Rick Tryon, Commissioner

“They kind of set themselves up as a target,” Kelly said.

City officials

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