Bids approved for NMC's Innovation Center

Record-Eagle file photo/Jan-Michael StumpNorthwestern Michigan College began demolition of the 50 year-old West Hall Building this September, which will be replaced on campus by a 54,000 square foot West Hall 21st Century Innovation Center. The more than $7 million project, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2020, will feature a multi-story library and flexible learning spaces.

TRAVERSE CITY — Bids for work on the renovation of the Northwestern Michigan College campus' West Hall into the Innovation Center were approved Monday by the college's Board of Trustees.

The board also authorized NMC administration to enter into contracts with the four companies awarded the jobs.

Construction is currently underway and will take place through next year, with completion projected for early spring 2020.

"Things are moving along and we're progressing," said Trustee Chris Bott, chair of the building and site committee.

Bids were reviewed and recommended by Spence Brothers, the general contractor for the renovation and expansion project. Jobs were awarded to:

n Schepers Concrete Construction of Grand Rapids for its low bid of $781,801;

n Bay Masonry of Traverse City for its low bid of $489,919;

n Steel Supply & Engineering Co. of Grand Rapids for its low bid of $1,403,500; and

n Kone Inc., also of Grand Rapids, for elevator equipment. The company had a low bid of $107,808.

Steel came in about $257,000 over the amount budgeted for the project, while the other three bids came in collectively about $392,000 under budget.

The Innovation Center project will add about 25,000 square feet of new space and will renovate about 13,000 square feet of space, adding classrooms, conference rooms, student-centered workspaces and simulation labs.

The Osterlin Library is also moving into the building, a project that will cost another $6 million and is being funded by the college. The former library will likely house student services such as advising, counseling, financial aid, student life and tutoring. That renovation is not yet funded.

The project is slated to cost about $15 million and is being funded by a half and half mix of state capital outlay money and bonds sold by NMC that will be paid back over 20 years. The cost includes a $400,000 geothermal heating and cooling system that was added to the project in August.

The cafeteria and radio station WWMC-FM will remain in the new center, but the bookstore is moving to the Health & Science Building.