By Richard Clark and Jennifer Loren, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The public trust in charge of building the new Drillers Stadium downtown is in a hurry to get the project rolling. Members say that's the reason they approved an unusual financing plan on Friday morning.
When it signed the deal with the Drillers earlier this year, the Tulsa Stadium Trust promised to have it finished in time for the 2010 season. The trust says it can't accomplish that if it uses the traditional method of building large public projects.
An artist's rendering of what the stadium will look like doesn't have any of the detail necessary to actually begin construction. But, drawing up detailed plans and then soliciting bids would take a lot of time. Time the trust says it doesn't have.
Instead, the trust has turned to a process called design-build. It's using a tax exempt charity called the Tulsa Community Foundation to help get things done. Out of three bidders, the trust selected Manhattan Construction to join the foundation and form Tulsa Stadium Construction Company to oversee the whole project.
As the trust approves detailed plans for each phase of work, Tulsa Stadium Construction Company will hire subcontractors to get it done.
Members of the trust say doing it this way will shave a year off the process, and they plan to break ground December 16th.
Some of the members of the Tulsa Stadium Trust are also board members of the Tulsa Community Foundation. That has led some people to question whether there's a conflict of interest. But, those trust members say there is no conflict, and that the arrangement is the best way to take full advantage of the unique opportunity offered by their connections.