COLUMBUS — Mayor Jim Bulkley was a bit surprised when none of the Columbus City Council members had questions regarding new restrooms planned for Pawnee Park’s Memorial Stadium.
“We have a half-a-million-dollar bathroom and nobody is asking why?” Bulkley said after the agenda item failed to drum up any conversation Monday night.
“It’s a large-dollar item. It just needs a little explanation,” the mayor added.
Bulkley wasn’t necessarily opposing the $544,785 contract with B-D Construction Inc. that will replace the current restrooms on the east side of Memorial Stadium and renovate a restroom on the first floor of City Hall to make it handicapped-accessible. But he felt a project with that high of a price tag should be outlined for the public.
About $532,000 of the contract amount is for the stadium project, a 2,550-square-foot building that will house men’s, women’s and family restrooms and a changing room for officials with six lockers and two showers.
City Engineer Rick Bogus said the facility, which is shared by the football stadium and adjacent baseball field, must be improved to meet regulations in a couple of areas.
“Our current bathroom out there doesn’t come close to meeting the ADA compliance,” he said, referencing the Americans with Disabilities Act rules for handicapped-accessibility.
The city also plans to replace the visitors’ side bleachers at Memorial Stadium, bumping the seating capacity to 800 fans. Larger restrooms are required to serve more people.
Other changes include better lighting and heating. The current restrooms are warmed with electric heaters.
At $208 per square foot, Bogus said the Memorial Stadium restrooms are actually cheaper than similar facilities in Columbus. The Glur Park restrooms, which also include space for parks department storage and equipment for a Verizon Wireless cell tower, cost $240 per square foot and restrooms were recently added in Pawnee Park East at a cost of $218 per square foot.
The contract with B-D Construction was $37,115 less than the only other bid, which came from another Columbus company, Bierman Contracting Inc.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the restroom work.
Bids for the Memorial Stadium bleacher improvements will be reviewed next week, with both projects scheduled to be completed before the high school football season kicks off in August.
The 2017-18 budget includes $800,000 in sales tax revenue for the stadium projects.