Some value engineering performed to keep a new Biloxi ballpark under budget may be coming back to haunt the city and the Southern League team, as some scrapped seating may need to be revived — and there’s not enough money in the contingency fund to cover the increased costs.
The issue: four seating bays were eliminated from MGM Park, to be the new home of the relocating Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) sometime in 2015, when the ballpark plans were scaled back to meet a hard $36 million budget. Turns out those seating bays are needed per Minor League Baseball specs (at least, that’s how it’s being reported), and the search is on to find funding for those seating bays. There was only $600,000 in the contingency fund, and much of that has been spent, so either the team or the city will need to step up and find the $400,000 to fund the seats. From WLOX:
Four seating bays were originally cut from the blueprints to save money. Glavan said those bays may have to be there, after all, for minor league seating requirements.
Does this mean exceeding the budget? If it does, Councilman Paul Tisdale wants nothing to do with it.
“I’ll vote for this baseball stadium, but I don’t plan to vote for anything that exceeds the $36 million price tag,” said Tisdale.
Now, some of this is posturing: we’re talking about a feature that is roughly 1/100th the cost of the entire construction project. But we’re seeing the dangers of building a ballpark in a hurry: small design changes that could be dealt with in an orderly fashion are suddenly blown out of proportion because funding needs to be found immediately.
As we noted last week, there’s still no firm deadline for the ballpark opening, as there’s a chance the team could play two series in Huntsville before MGM Park opens.
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