UM Stadium Expansion Down to Three Companies

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA (AP) – General contractor bids for the 2,000-seat east-side expansion of Washington-Grizzly Stadium will be awarded sometime in the next 10 days.

Four contractors were initially in the running for the $5.5 million project, but the Utah company Ames, owned by former Grizzly football player and longtime booster Walt Brett, withdrew from the bidding, said Jerry Ballas, the University of Montana’s project manager for the stadium expansion.

Ballas didn’t explain why Ames decided against seeking the contract, but said he and others were disappointed by the decision because the company was good to work with when it tackled the 4,000-seat north end-zone expansion in 2003.

Three Montana companies are now vying for the contract, and all are submitting bids at the invitation of UM: Quality Construction and Swank, both of Missoula, and Jackson, a contractor based in Kalispell.

All three have worked on, or are currently working on, UM building projects and have proved they can do good work and finish projects in a timely manner, Ballas said.

If the Grizzly football team continues to dominate the Big Sky Conference and hosts one or more playoff games, contractors won’t start on the project until Dec. 15, said Jim O’Day, UM’s athletic director.

Whatever happens in coming weeks, one thing is for sure: The stadium will have 2,000 more people in it this time next year, O’Day said.

Included in the 2,000 additional seats will be a clubhouse that will serve 250 seats, an adjacent terrace with 250 seats, an elevator and additional seating for people with disabilities. The new concourse will include several food carts and a kiosk that will sell items from The Bookstore at the University of Montana.

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