New Sterling Nature Center building delayed after construction firm drops out

The building concept for a proposed redesign of the Sterling Nature Center.

Pandemic-related increases in the cost of lumber and other construction materials have created a snag in plans for a new visitor center at Cayuga County’s Sterling Nature Center.

Cayuga County Planning and Economic Development Director Steve Lynch has informed county legislators that the largest contract for the $4.36 million project will have to be put out for bids again after the general construction company that made the lowest bid withdrew from the work. The low bidder cited the higher material costs that have emerged since the county first opened bids in March after putting out a request for them in February.

The county had hoped to start work on the center’s new interpretive building and parking lot last spring and have it completed by October 2022.

In his July report to the Legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, Lynch said additional state review associated with grant funding for the project delayed the awarding bids, which led to the general contractor no longer being able honor the lowest bid submitted.

After consulting with project architects, state grant officials and the county’s purchasing director, a new timetable was developed that includes soliciting general contract bids again in October of this year, with construction work to start in the second quarter of 2022.

Lynch also said that it’s likely the new bids will come in higher than the originally awarded general construction bid.

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