TURLOCK — Bids on the project to rebuild the Carnegie Arts Center all came in below the city's estimate.
Although supporters were thrilled, it's still not definite the project will happen.
The city Thursday opened more than a dozen construction bids to rebuild the center, with estimates as low as $5.3 million from Applegate Johnston Inc. of Modesto. All 15 bids came in less than the $7.8 million architect's estimate for construction. The highest bid was $6.2 million.
Council members have been at odds over whether to fund the reconstruction, with some citing concerns over ongoing operation costs.
There is $7.7 million identified to fund the Carnegie reconstruction, said Mike Pitcock, director of development services.
In October 2007, the City Council approved going forward with the project with the use of redevelopment agency dollars, community donations and capital facilities fees, among other sources.
"I'm ecstatic," said Patty O'Donnell, chairwoman of the Carnegie Arts Foundation. "I'm hopeful it makes it much easier for the council to go forward."
City staff members must review bids and verify that they are accurate, Pitcock said.
The bids will come before the council for a vote July 14.
The renovation has been a decade in the making.
In November 2005, midway through a small renovation, the building burned after two burglars set a fire to cover their tracks, according to authorities.
One of 2,000 such libraries built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the center in the North Broadway neighborhood played host to art classes, exhibitions, poetry readings, storytelling, concerts and plays in recent years.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337.