WILLIAMSBURG – The Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority (HRTFA) voted Wednesday, September 14 to enter into an interim agreement with a firm to design and build a potential indoor sports complex in Greater Williamsburg.
MEB and W.M. Jordan submitted proposals earlier this year to design and build the facility near the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center, and each gave 30-minute presentations at the authority’s July meeting. After pushing back a vote from August to September, the authority voted 6-0 in favor of MEB.
“We were very fortunate to have two very good firms in W.M. Jordan and MEB,” said Scott Stevens, county administrator for James City County and the vice chair of the authority. “That’s nice to start out where you think you can’t make a bad choice.”
He couldn’t point to any one thing that made the difference.
“They were very enthusiastic in their proposal and presented a good project idea,” he said. “We’re excited about having them on board.”
At its October meeting, the authority will consider approval of the interim agreement, which allows the design work to begin. Three architectural firms – Clark Nexsen, GuernseyTingle, and the Timmons Group – are part of that team.
The goal is for the facility to be at least 160,000 square feet and consist of 12 basketball courts (or 24 volleyball court or 36 pickleball courts). It’s a joint venture among the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County.
After signing the interim agreement, the two sides will work together to create 30 percent of the design drawings. That will help estimate costs of the project.
“We hope by spring 2023 to have enough information to be able to say this is what the facility is going to cost going forward and the layout of it,” Stevens said.
Last year, two consultants working with the authority estimated a total cost of $35 million to $45 million, Stevens said.
“I’m sure with construction things that we hear about today, that number will be somewhat higher than that,” he said. “But that will be driven in part by what we ask them to include. So, we are trying to work through what that might look like.”
As for target dates for an opening or even a groundbreaking, he couldn’t hazard a guess.
“As a board, we have not come to that point of having that conversation,” he said. “It’s certainly something we believe is important to our communities or we wouldn’t be doing this. So, from that standpoint, we want to move forward quickly.”
In spring 2023, the authority hopes to present final pricing and designs to the three localities.