Mary Tutwiler

ACA forced to reject theater bids

by Mary Tutwiler

The Acadiana Center for the Arts announced on Monday that the bid process for its Phase 2 theater violates state law, due to a technicality, and the entire process will have to be rebid. Newspaper announcements advertising for bids were required three times in three weeks, but the advertising only took place over two weeks. Lafayette Consolidated Government’s purchasing department is responsible for the error.

Despite that all the numbers are now on the table, the Lemoine Company, the low bidder among six general contractors when packets were opened in November, will rebid, says ACA Executive Director Gerd Wuestemann. “Of course it’s a huge problem, but we’re moving forward.” Attempts to override rebidding, based on the small nature of the technicality, went as far as the attorney general’s office, but the state demanded the complex bid laws be followed to the letter. “There’s nothing that can be done. It violates state bid law,” Wuestemann says. The new bid opening date is Jan. 15. If all goes according to law this time line, it should only push the project back by several months.

Here's the statement from the ACA:

Lafayette Consolidated Government received notification last week that the State Department of Facility Planning & Control was forced to reject bids for Phase 2 of the Acadiana Center for the Arts - a 300-seat, State-of-the-art Theater - because of a technicality.  The facility will be built with State funding, therefore the bid process is subject to State laws. On November 12th six general contractors submitted bids to the City. The apparent low bidder was the Lemoine Company.

The bids were rejected due to non-compliance of State advertising laws, which require bids to be advertised three times within three weeks. The bids were advertised three times over a period of two weeks, and as a result were not in compliance. The clerical error left the State with no choice but to reject the bids.

Lafayette’s Downtown Development Authority, Architects Southwest as the executive architect on the job, LCG’s Public Works as well as the Acadiana Center for the Arts have worked closely with City and State Governments to resolve the situation and have shown exemplary initiative and expedience. A re-bid schedule has been established and discussed with the State for compliance. The new bid-opening date is scheduled for January 15th of 2009, at which date bids will be received at City Hall. It is expected that the new lowest proposal will still be within the available budget for construction and will be awarded to the lowest bidder after appropriate review by all parties.

All partners in the project are confident that a successful bid will be received on January 15th and that the delay will prove to be a minor speed-bump in the completion of this important facility. The State’s due diligence in catching this error so it could be corrected is much appreciated. The resulting cooperation between all parties echoes our commitment to the project as well as to legal standards and procedures.

The staff & board of the Acadiana Center for the Arts, City and State officials as well as the team at Architects Southwest are as enthusiastic as ever to see this project come to conclusion. The completed Center will become an integrated performing- and visual arts facility of the highest caliber, with workshop spaces and high-definition audio/video systems able to produce national level shows and exhibitions. The facility, with its flexible floor plan and acoustics, will also be utilized for film festivals, conferences and community activities. A café and beautiful foyer/atrium complete what is to become one of the most magnificent public spaces in our region.