Eagles Nest Indoor Playground replacement finally moves forward

The New Brighton City Council recently unanimously approved a bid and awarded a contract for the Eagles Nest Indoor Playground replacement.

The council awarded the contract to Commercial Recreation Specialists in the amount of $412,555.

The New Brighton community center building was built in 1994, and the last Eagles Nest structure was installed in 2003 with a 10-year life expectancy. The project was scheduled for replacement in 2013 and in 2016, but was delayed until 2017 due to only one qualifying bid coming through. According to Acting Parks and Recreation Director Jason Hicks, the Eagles Nest hosted approximately 1,200 birthday parties and groups in 2016 and sells 51,000 individual youth daily admissions annually with revenues totaling $4,195,270 since 2004.

“People are coming there and enjoying the playground and they know it is a place to come and be safe and play and have fun with your children,” said Hicks.

Public input  

Back in February 2016, public input was solicited regarding a proposed amenities in new Eagles Nest. Potential vendors provided photos of various playground elements that were displayed at the community center. After registering, visitors selected the elements they wished to be included in the new playground.

“There were about 90 total amenities shown there and the top ten are all included,” said Hicks.

Selection process

A Best Value Procurement process, which is an alternate to a traditional low bid, was used to determine the recommended replacement structure. This process has predetermined requirements and a scoring process that determines the best proposal. In a best value system, a contractor or vendor is selected through a process of researching the vendors or contractors before a detailed project plan is made.
Final proposals were opened on April 24, 2017. Four companies submitted two proposals each, for a total of eight proposals.

After reviewing each proposal, Commercial Recreation Specialists was determined to be the best value.

Financial impact

The new playground will be funded via the Non-Fleet Capital Asset Replacement Program, which identifies $412,555 for the replacement.  A 10 percent contingency of $48,970 is being held in reserve.

Incidentals to the project including the demolition of the existing structure, new carpeting, a vacuum system and cleaning the existing area are estimated at $28,175 and would be purchased outside the bid.

Because visitors of the Eagles Nest have expressed safety concerns, the buildings sprinkler system will be upgraded during the replacement process.

This includes increasing the density of the system in the Eagles Nest as well as reviewing sprinkler head placement to ensure coverage in all areas of the playground. These improvements will be funded from the General Fund and not from the Capital Asset Replacement Fund the playground replacement has been budgeted for.

An exhaust fan is also being considered in the Eagles Nest to increase the removal of smoke and fumes in the event of a fire.

Project timeline

The demolition of the current structure is scheduled to begin on Sept. 5 with construction of the new structure beginning on Sept. 25.

If all goes as planned, construction will be completed by Nov. 3 and the Eagles Nest Indoor Playground will reopen shortly after that.

During the meeting, Mayor Val Johnson expressed her excitement that the Eagles Nest is finally getting its long-awaited makeover.

“This is really exciting,” she said. “Another historic kind of vote and I think this is great.”