Walton Arts Center Must Use City's Selection Process for Contractor

Walton Arts Center Must Use City's Selection Process for Contractor
Fayetteville voters approved a $6.9 million bond issue to help fund a $20 million renovation and expansion of the Walton Arts Center. (Boora Architects)

The Walton Arts Center will have to use the city of Fayetteville’s selection process to hire a contractor for the center’s $20 million renovation and expansion.

Center officials originally planned to select the contractor themselves and hoped to have that done by the end of 2013. Before any contractor was interviewed, however, the center learned that because the renovation was being partially paid for by taxpayer funds, officials could not make a unilateral choice.

City voters approved a $6.9 million bond issue in a Nov. 12 special election to partially fund the work on the 22-year-old facility. Walton Arts Center COO Terri Trotter and board member Mike Johnson are members of the eight-person selection committee, which includes two members of Polk Stanley Architects, city Finance Director Paul Becker, City Engineer Chris Brown and Alderman Matthew Petty.

Becker said last week that he hoped to have the advertisement published by Saturday and it will run for three days. Prospective contractors have two weeks to submit an application, and Becker said he expects the process to take a few weeks after that.

Becker said he hopes the committee will be able to make its recommendation on the contractor to the city council in mid- to late March.

“We’ve never done what I’d term a private-public funding project quite like this,” Becker said. “It’s a private-public partnership, so certainly we have to agree.”

Neither Trotter nor Becker expects any difficulty because of the selection process.