City receives bids for downtown library, civic center

The City of Biloxi has received 13 bids from contractors from throughout the Southeast and as far away as Michigan for one of the largest single construction projects in the city, a new downtown library and civic center.

The bids – which range from $16.5 million to $19.5 million – will be reviewed by city staff and architects over the next several days, and a contract for construction should be awarded in two to three weeks. The project has a total budget of $24 million.

The new library and civic center and a second project – a new visitors center north of the Biloxi Lighthouse, for which the city will receive bids in two weeks — are being funded by federal funds and insurance proceeds. Both facilities are being designed by the firm Dale and Associates.

The new library and civic center, which covers a total of 72,000 square feet, will be located on Howard Avenue, across from the current community center, which will be used for senior programs. The new facility will include a civic center that will have indoor areas that would cover two football fields, offer a wealth of functional space and the latest technology for a diverse group of patrons. The library, which will encompass 21,000 square feet, will include a flexible layout with a library within a library to house a local history archive.

Many of the planned features of the new facility – a connecting arcade, courtyard, arched windows, stucco exterior, chandeliers and wood ceilings – were influenced by some of the beloved buildings from the city’s past, including such hotels as the Tivoli, Buena Vista and the White House..

“We received a good, competitive range of bids, and they included a handful of local contractors, as well as those from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and even one from Michigan,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “My goal is that once staff reviews these bids, we’ll go to City Council the first week in August, have this project under construction in early September and wrap up construction 18 months later.”

Renderings and background: To read background and see renderings of the library and civic center, and the visitors center, click here.

News and notes

Marlin’s marlin: Mayor A.J. Holloway dropped by the Town Green about an hour ago to visit with sculptor Marlin Miller and view progress on Miller’s latest undertaking, a huge marlin and other sea creatures. To see photos of the progress, click here.

Updated zoning map: The Community Development Department has updated the city’s zoning map to incorporate zoning changes over the past year. To see the map online, click here.

Road work in progress: To see the Traffic Update from the Public Works Department, click here.