After objections about the qualifications of a participant in the winning bid, the city of Wichita is moving forward with the selection of a design/build team on a new ballpark for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
A city selection committee is recommending that a design-construction team of the DLR Group (Overland Park, Kan.), JE Dunn Construction (Kansas City) and three Wichita construction firms be awarded the contract. The committee chose that team over competing submissions from a Populous (Kansas City)/AECOM Hunt (Los Angeles)/two Wichita construction firms group and a HKS (Dallas)/Barton Malow (Ann Arbor)/two local firms bid.
While the committee is recommending that the DLR/JE Dunn group be selected, issues were raised over the qualifications of JE Dunn–specifically, whether the construction firm has had experience with three MiLB or MLB ballpark construction projects, and whether the experience needed to be cumulative within the group or with each design/construction firm. The response from the city, per the Wichita Eagle, is that the joint submission meets the three-ballpark criteria. Indeed, when evaluated on this level, the DLR Group alone meets the criteria, with original design credit on Steinbrenner Field (New York Yankees spring-training facility), Werner Park (Omaha Storm Chasers) and Fluor Field (Greenville Drive).
The next step will a formal vote by the City Council on the recommendation next Tuesday.
The new ballpark will be constructed on the site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which will be demolished to make way for the facility. The new Wichita ballpark is set to open in time for the 2020 season, with the city expected to spend more than $80 million on project costs.
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