WORCESTER - City officials are looking to use the "construction manager at risk" delivery method for the minor league ballpark to be built in the Canal District/Kelley Square area.
The process would be in lieu of the traditional construction method in which the project is first designed, then the hiring of a general contractor is put out to bid.
By using the construction manager at risk process the Worcester Redevelopment Authority would be able to hire a construction manager based on qualifications, rather than having to go through the public bidding process, according to city officials.
But to be able to use this construction manager at risk method for the ballpark project the WRA must receive permission from the state inspector general.
The WRA board will be asked Friday to authorize submission of an application to the inspector general's office for that purpose.
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In a related matter, the WRA board is being asked to authorize a design services agreement with D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects Inc. for the ballpark project.
D'AIQ was recently ranked as the top choice by the city's Designer Selection Board to be architect for the ballpark project. It was one of seven firms submitting bids for the contract.
The Somerville-based firm was involved in the expansion and renovation of Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium.
It has a previous working relationship with Larry Lucchino, chairman of the Pawtucket Red Sox, and Janet Marie Smith, a nationally recognized baseball planning and development executive. The two have reunited to be part of the design team for the Worcester ballpark project.
Mr. Lucchino and Ms. Smith worked together on expansion and renovation of Fenway Park starting in 2002. In addition, D'AIQ worked with Ms. Smith, a senior vice president of planning and development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, on $175 million worth of renovations made at Dodger Stadium.
The construction manager at risk method has become more popular at both the state and local levels since becoming an option under state law in 2004. The city used the process for construction of the Union Station municipal parking garage and North High School projects. In both instances, the city and WRA contracted with Gilbane Building Co.
The process was also used by the state to build the Worcester courthouse.
The intent of the construction manager at risk method is to give municipalities and public agencies greater control over project costs. It is supposed to provide value engineering and cost containment by using the "guaranteed maximum price" method, thus limiting cost overruns and costly construction claims often associated with the traditional design-to-build projects.
It also allows for a general contractor to be brought on during the early design stage of a project so it can work with the architect on project design. Under the traditional construction method, the general contractor is not brought on until after design is completed.
By bringing a general contractor on earlier in the project and working with the design team, it is expected the number of change orders that might lead to cost overruns can be limited.
If the green light is given by the inspector general's office, a construction manager would be selected by the owner's project manager, which is Skanska USA Building Inc., and the project architect, according to city officials.
They said they expect to have a construction manager on board for the project by the end of December.
The 10,000-seat ballpark is to be built as part of the overall $240 million redevelopment of the Canal District/Kelley Square area of the city. The stadium, to be known as Polar Park, will be the new home of the Boston Red Sox' top minor league team starting in the 2021 season.
Construction of the ballpark is scheduled to begin next July and be completed in March 2021.
The cost of constructing the ballpark alone has been pegged at $86 million to $90 million, while the overall cost of the project, which includes land acquisition and other associated improvements, is expected to be $100.8 million.