Bids for a new concession and restroom building near Kelsch Field in Athletic Park were apporoved by the Public Building Commission June 12 during the group's regular meeting at Newton City Hall.


The PBC approved a bid of $278,460, awarding the project to the low bidder of Sauerwein Construction.


"This is a weird little project, and the bids came back a little higher than we expected," said Suzanne Loomis, city engineer.


The PBC accepted one alternate to the bid, enlarging the building roof to allow for a larger outdoor concession area.


For another project, adding a sewer line to Centennial Park, the group discussed moving forward with adding a sewer line to precipitate a new bathroom and concession building between Kenny Williams and Klein Scott Fields.


Doing so would require the city to float a loan to the PBC, as it would put the PBC into a negative balance for about two years before heading to a positive again. If that were to happen, the new building would be constructed in 2018 — and the last project on a Capitol Improvements Master Plan until 2024 when the plan calls for replacement of turf at Fischer Field in Athletic Park.


"All of that will be taken to the city commission (June 13)," Loomis said. "What I need today is if you are open to it, if you are not, we will not go to the commission."


Carl Harris, a PBC member, moved that the group ask the city to cover the cost of the project to expedite the process, with the PBC repaying the cost "out of the normal stream." Members voted 7-0 to support the motion.


"If the city is willing to loan us the money, and am for all of this," Harris said. "It seems like it takes a long to time to get amenities. We have discussed this project before."


The sewer project will be bid and completed this year. Design of a new building at Centennial would begin this year, with construction set for 2018.


Loomis told the PBC bids for the sewer extension will be reviewed by the Newton City Commission June 13.


"The low bid was under the estimate and they are good bids," Loomis said.


The PBC approved moving forward with the design of new restroom, concession and pressbox facilities at Centennial Park — contingent on city approval of a loan for the project.