Friday, June 10, 2011

Field House Follow-Up: Architect Selection “On Hold”

Seven proposals received in response to RFP

By Dan Schroeder

We haven’t heard much from the media about the field house recently. But even though none of the hoped-for funding for this massive indoor recreation project has yet materialized, Mayor Godfrey hasn’t given up hope and continues to push the city council to support it.

Meanwhile, attentive readers may be wondering about a loose end left over from early this year. On January 23 the city published a Request For Proposals for architectural services for the field house. A clarification of the RFP appeared on the city’s web site on February 1, and the deadline for proposals was February 9.

This RFP was unusual in a couple of ways. First, it was vague about the scope of the project and the format in which prospective architects were supposed to submit their bids. And second, it failed to acknowledge that the city had already hired an architect, Dan Van Zeben, to draw preliminary sketches of the field house. (Mr. Van Zeben claimed he was doing this work as a volunteer, but documents later showed that the city had funneled $5000 to him through the consultant who produced the field house feasibility study.)

After hearing nothing about the RFP since the February 9 deadline, I got curious and submitted a GRAMA request to the city, asking to see the full procurement file. The usual delays ensued, while the city attorney’s office considered whether the file had to be released. But they finally did so, and I got to look through the file earlier this week.

Seven architects submitted proposals in response to the RFP:
  • VanZeben (Ogden)
  • VCBO (Salt Lake City)
  • CRSA (Salt Lake City)
  • Mark Wilson Architects (Lehi)
  • Sanders Associates (Ogden)
  • EDA (Salt Lake City)
  • Ridgeline Design (South Ogden)
All of the proposals consist mostly of information about the firms’ credentials and previous work. The bids themselves are brief and hard to compare, with some consisting only of hourly rates, others bidding as a percentage of construction cost, and so on.

Besides the seven bids, the city received five email inquiries from other interested firms. The “clarification” that the city posted on February 1 was actually a copy of its response to an inquiry from Bertoldi Architects of Ogden.

After the deadline passed, some of the bidders inquired into the schedule for awarding the contract. At first the city indicated that the process would be quick, but this gradually changed until May 6 when Management Services Director Mark Johnson stated that the project was “on hold”. That seems to be where things stand today.


althepal said...

On hold?  Try DOA.

Rebel With a Cause2 said...

For the Fieldhouse  horror to be "on hold" may be the best  we
could hope for, now, but we will be depending on the City
Council to rescue us from that monstrosity of an idea being accomplished in the future.

Donk9 said...

I hope the Council reads your comment because we do indeed depend on them to rescue us from the monstrous visions of our Mayor.  A big job,  but it appears that the Council is up to it of late - GO COUNCIL!

blackrulon said...

Before the city council even begins to study or apply any more funding to the fieldhouse they should require those people on Godfreys secret donor list to put their money into a escrow account.

Curmudgeon said...

Once again, a citizen journalist [a term much despised by the pros] has done the Standard Examiner's work for it.  There's a word that describes what Dan reported above.  It's called "news."   Why no one at the SE noticed that the deadline for proposals had passed,  and [apparently] no one inquired about how many came in, and what their status was, and so no one at the SE uncovered the news that the project is now officially on "hold"  is itself an interesting question.    

It seems neither the news editors at the SE nor its reporters keep a "follow up" file. It's really not hard.  If the paper reports that something is going to happen by X date [say, all proposals must be submitted by, or decsion will be made by],  then the reporter or news editors fill out a little index card, with the date something is supposed to happen by, and describe below what's supposed to happen.  Once each week,  they can check the file  to see if any "supposed to happen by" date on file has passed, and if it has, they can start making phone calls to see if what was supposed to happen happened,  and if it did, what the results were, and if it didn't, why it didn't.   Don't even need a computer.  3 X 5 notecards and a little box to keep them in will work fine.

But since building a dated follow-up file seems beyond the technical capacity of the SE's news editors, I propose they leave the matter up to their readers.  They can run a  "Hey, what ever happened to....?" items, with readers invited to suggest terms to finish the question.   And the paper can actually track one down every now and then and report on it.  

That would certainly work better than the system they're using now, which appears to be "let Dan do it."

PS:  Thanks, yet again, Dan.

blackrulon said...

You are questioning the wisdom of the local paper. Dave Greiling announced in todays paper that the S-E will no longer give weather forecasts in the paper on Saturday or Sunday. He suggests that people depend on other sources for weather reports. Perhaps he is confused as to one of the reasons read the paper. Just another example of the S-E hitting the bottom and beginning to dig deeper.

Danny said...


What amazes me time and again is that the folks at the S-E just don't seem to care.  Interesting, newsworthy, controversial things like this are going on all the time and they don't know and don't seem to be interested at all.

But it's what they do.  It's their livelihood.  How can people not care about their own source of income?  People like Scott Schwebke have almost nothing to do all day, and yet what little they are supposed to do, they don't do it.

And so we have people like Dan, who does his own job as a physics professor, then in his spare time does things like this. 

He has the lights on upstairs, he's curious, and he's dynamic.  What is frightening is that type of person, it seems, is getting more and more rare.

Curmudgeon said...

That any full time reporter for the SE has "nothing to do all day" I doubt very much.   For a daily paper, they're understaffed.  All but inevitable result of declining ad revenue seems to me.

As for reporting on Ogden City matters, and on other matters local as well [Weber County plus Davis, etc.]:  The SE editors will tell you that in a world of instant online coverage of breaking national and state news, they're niche is to report what people can not find faster or in more depth on the web. That means local stuff.  [SL Trib gives Ogden mews only an occasional lick and a promise. ]  So it's a bit puzzling to me too why local news of clearly some interest to the paper's readers [or a significant number of them] doesn't get more of a priority than it does.  It should not have been up to Dan to file a GRAMA request to uncover news about what the RFP brought in and about the current [new] status of Matthew Godfrey's Magical Wonder Dome Field House ["on hold."].  The SE should have been on top of that story. We agree on that.

However, once again, let me suggest you're aiming your criticism in largely the wrong direction.  I think the paper is getting the kind of reporting on Ogden matters the editors want.   If they wanted more robust coverage, they'd get it.  If they wanted tight monitoring  of  follow-up dates, they'd get it.  If they wanted all statements and press releases by elected officials fact-checked before reporting them, it would happen.  Clearly, that is not the paper's news policy.

The weaknesses in coverage we've both noted result from the paper's news policies, not primarily from reporters' decisions, I think.   On this, the buck stops with the editors.

Danny said...

No, Schwebke is an incurious reporter who consistently does a shallow, crappy job consisting of asking the mayor's opinion. Typically, he doesn't even ask the council members or anyone else.  Look at his articles and tell me they take more that 30 minutes to research and write.

He's lazy.  He's apathetic.  Whatever they pay him, it's too much.  He should be fired.  

Ozboy said...

Well Danny, if Schwebke was worth a bucket of warm spit he wouldn't be writing for the Standard now, would he?

Actually I think you and Mr. Curmudgeon are both right vis-a-vis Schwebke.  He is lame and he is restrained - by his editor/publisher. 

The lame part pertains to his reporting on Ogden City mayoral affairs, not his general reporting skills, which are rather good actually - as long as he is writing about something other than Ogden City gummint that is.

Interesting that the two Ogden beat reporters who preceded Schwebke were both very good.  The first, Kathy McKittric was hired away by the Tribune where she resides to this day, and the other one, can't quite remember his name, I believe left the news paper biz - if I'm not mistaken.  I think his observations of the way the Suits of Sandusky covered Godfrey's skinny little ass might have had a bit to do with this reporter leaving the game.

Curmudgeon said...

Two points:    1. "Typically, he doesn't even ask the council members or anyone else."   This is not true from what I've seen. I've been at City Council meetings, work sessions covered by Mr. S. and he  does talk post-meeting to members, people who spoke, the Mayor or his flacks.   Whether any of those people say anything worth reporting bearing on the one [one] topic to be covered in the next morning's story [paper policy to cover only one item morning after late Council meetings]  is another matter. 2. " Look at his articles and tell me they take more that 30 minutes to research and write."   If you're talking about  the stories that run the morning after a Council meeting or work session, probably are cobbled together very fast.  Have to be. The meetings happen hours after the normal deadline for stories to be included in the following morning's paper.  A certain number of column inches is reserved for the Council story known to be coming, and it has to be in fast, before the press run starts.  Criticizing a reporter for not taking time to research/write in depth when he doing a post-deadline story for the next morning's edition seems a tad unfair to me.     If you're talking about stories based on  say Administration press releases or Mayoral pronouncements, then we're back to discussion the paper's policies.  Fact-checking such items takes time. If the editors want the announcements/statements reported in the next day's paper, there is not time to fact-check them thoroughly.   Not having that done is, it seems, the editor's policy.   Not defending all the stories I've read. Some were I thought clearly not as good as they might have been.  And I've said so, here, at the time.  But then,  I'm hard put to think of a reporter of whom that can not be said  ---  Ms. McKitrick [who's work, on those infrequent  occasions when her Masters deign to permit her  her to cover Ogden matters, I like] --- included.  

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