Some contractors complained VEC Systems lacks the experience needed to complete the job.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city's board of control awarded nine contracts totaling nearly $9 million for work at the downtown arena project.
All of the awarded bids were below the engineer's estimates for the work.
That includes an $893,723 contract with VEC Systems of Girard for construction of the arena's roof.
The engineer's original estimate for the job was $595,923, said Carmen Conglose Jr., deputy director of the city's public works department.
But after receiving the four bids for the work, and reviewing the specifications for the job, Hunt Construction Group, the company overseeing the project, made a significant change to the estimate, Conglose said. The new estimate was $1.4 million.
"The original number was way off," Conglose said. "After getting the bids, Hunt realized it was way off and adjusted the estimate."
Hunt officials underestimated the complexity of the roof work, he said.
Officials with Boak and Sons complained to the city that VEC doesn't have the experience and expertise to do the arena roof job, Conglose said.
Sam Boak of Boak and Sons is out of town and couldn't be reached to comment.
Boak and Sons' $1.34 million proposal was the highest of the four bids for the roof work. The two other bids were for $1.08 million and $1.16 million.
The roof bid specifications require the company getting the job to have three years of experience and references. In VEC's proposal, the company listed roof work it has done at three schools and a steel company.
VEC is operated by officials who also own Valley Electrical.
Conglose said VEC met the bid specifications, and Hunt officials are satisfied the company can handle the arena job.
"It's a nonissue as far as I'm concerned," he said.
City Finance Director David Bozanich and Mayor George M. McKelvey, members of the board of control, also said VEC met the specifications in the bid.
"If they didn't, they wouldn't get the contract," Bozanich said.
With these awards, the city has awarded about 80 percent to 85 percent of the arena's contracts.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the progress of the project," McKelvey said.
Bid packages for some other major projects -- such as seating and furniture -- will probably be ready next week.
The project is on schedule with opening day set for Nov. 5, and all the work done by late October, Conglose said.