Apr. 21—Construction will likely start within a month on the Alabama Center for the Arts dormitory in downtown Decatur after the state Community College System board approved the project even though it came in $683,000 over budget.
Blake McAnally, a system trustee from Decatur, said the board voted last week to award the contract to Century Construction Group, of Tupelo, Mississippi, for construction of the dormitory at the corner of Johnston Street Southeast and First Avenue.
McAnally said Century submitted a base bid of $15.68 million and alternates would have increased the contract to $17.97 million.
"Material prices are grossly inflated, demand is at an all-time high, fuel costs are 70% higher than a year ago, and labor costs have skyrocketed," McAnally said. "We are seeing this all over the Southeast."
Calhoun Community College and Athens State University are partners in the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur and will share the 80-student dorm. Calhoun recently acquired a parking lot owned by Decatur Utilities that's between the original dorm property and First Avenue to have the entire corner for the dorm project.
State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, sponsored legislation in 2020 that is providing $15 million in funding for the project.
McAnally said he expected construction to begin by late May, and the project is scheduled for completion in mid to late summer of 2023.
Calhoun interim President Jimmy Hodges said there are concerns about the supply chain and other issues that could cause delays, but he hopes the dorm is ready so students can move in at the start of the 2023 fall semester that August.
"We're glad to get the ball rolling," Hodges said.
Hodges said the intent of the dorm is to attract students to the arts center. There has been discussion about including other students, like athletes, but no decision has been made, he said.
The city of Decatur is building a parking deck next door to the dorm on the corner of First Avenue and East Moulton Street while developers are constructing a Fairfield Inn by Marriott east of the deck, at the corner of Second Avenue and East Moulton.
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