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The architectural firm of Ellerbe Becket has been hired to conduct the programming phase of the JQH Arena. The decision was approved today (May 1) by the Missouri State University Board of Governors. Mike Smith has the Story:
The programming phase will produce documentation of the defined elements to be included in the arena by collecting input from various stakeholders to learn their expectations and needs regarding the functions and spaces that should and can be accommodated within the new facility. These elements will include interior and exterior functional requirements, space sizes and quantities, contents, activities and relationships. This phase will also include site visits to other arenas for the purpose of collecting design ideas.
"We believe that given the need to move forward with the arena design, awarding an initial contract to conduct the programming phase at this time is in the university's best interest," said Dr. Michael T. Nietzel, Missouri State University president. "Completion of this process will allow the university to more accurately negotiate the remaining design fees based upon the actual project scope rather than a set of assumptions."
The university issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on March 6, 2006, receiving 10 responses by the March 23 deadline, including submissions from many nationally and internationally recognized arena design firms.
The JQH Arena Architect Selection Committee reviewed the qualifications of each firm or team of firms who submitted a response, selected four finalists, checked multiple references for each finalist, hosted on-site presentations by each of the finalists, then provided Nietzel with a report outlining the committee's perceived strengths and weaknesses of each. Nietzel considered the committee's report and made the final ranking of the finalists.
"The committee worked well together through a rigorous process to narrow down the field to the finalists," said Greg Burris, chair of the JQH Arena Architect Selection Committee and vice president for administrative and information services. "Overall, we were very pleased with the high quality of the submissions we received. Selection of the design team is the first milestone of a long project, but it's an exciting beginning."
Per state statutes, the university has begun negotiating a design fee with the top-ranked firm team. During this negotiation, it became apparent that the scope of work was still sufficiently undefined and that it would be difficult to negotiate an accurate design fee until the scope of work was better defined.
"After sitting on the selection committee, I can tell members of the Springfield Contractors Association that the process is thorough and fair, with the sole intent of selecting the best architect for the project," said Wayne Towe, Springfield Contractors Association. "I was also impressed by the manner in which all members of the committee worked together and discussed each issue before coming to a conclusion."