Bids for northeast-side recreation center come in under budget
Northeast Oklahoma City stands to get all it wants and more from the Willa D. Johnson Recreation Center, the first new recreation center to be built by the Parks Department in more than 40 years.
Construction bids opened Wednesday beat the estimate by a wide margin, meaning several enhancements project managers hoped to include can be added.
W.L. McNatt & Company of Oklahoma City submitted the low bid of $11.6 million. Nine other bids ranged from $12.5 million to $16.7 million.
The budget is $12.8 million, said Public Works Director Eric Wenger.
Construction of the 33,800-square-foot center is expected to begin in November and be done in February 2022. The center is being built at Douglass Park, at NE 4 and Martin Luther King Avenue.
Parks Director Doug Kupper said the favorable bids mean five enhancements, or "alternates," can be part of the project:
• Larger kitchen and multi-purpose room.
• Water slide.
• Larger fitness area.
• Outdoor plazas on the north and south sides of the building.
Other features include a gymnasium and pool.
Voters approved financing for the project in the 2017 bond election.
The center is named for longtime city council member and county Commissioner Willa Johnson.
Johnson's slogan for her 1993 Oklahoma City Council race was, "Where there's a Willa, there's a way."
She went on to represent northeast Oklahoma City's Ward 7 for 14 years, before serving 11 years as District 1 county commissioner.
She was the first African American woman elected to the city council and was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 2018.
The council voted in December to name the new recreation center for her.
In remarks to the council, she said, "I'll bet you never thought you'd see me humbled enough to cry. There is no better honor, for anybody, anywhere."