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Hawkeye Community College gets no bids on student center remodeling for bookstore
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Hawkeye Community College gets no bids on student center remodeling for bookstore

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WATERLOO — Difficulty in getting construction materials is delaying plans to renovate part of a Hawkeye Community College building for a bookstore.

A Barnes & Noble-branded bookstore is proposed for a portion of the Brock Student Center. The 2 p.m. Thursday deadline for contractors to turn in sealed bids came and went at the college without any submissions.

Dan Gillen, Hawkeye’s vice president of administration and finance, noted at a special board of trustees meeting later in the day that officials were forewarned the bids might not materialize. Architects on the project had been in communication with two potential bidders.

“Those two companies notified our architects today that they would not be bidding,” he told trustees. The reasons reported to Gillen were that it is currently difficult to get construction materials and so the Aug. 6 deadline for completion spelled out in the bid documents doesn’t provide enough time.

Tulips on display at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Waterloo.

He suggested that any materials shortages may be a recent issue. Gillen noted that no similar concerns were expressed about securing materials when Hawkeye sought bids for renovation of Grundy Hall earlier this spring. The board approved a $13.8 million contract with Peters Construction of Waterloo March 24 on that project.

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The student center renovation has an estimated cost of $250,000. It would consist of light demolition and renovation of the north end of the building where there is a stage near the cafeteria seating as well as some reconfiguring of an adjacent conference room and projector screen location. A glass wall would separate the store from the cafeteria.

The snafu is not expected to stop the construction from occurring eventually. Trustees approved a resolution to publish a notice to bidders on the project and set a public hearing. However, those details won’t be determined until architects get an idea from contractors on a timeline for completion that will work.

“We’d like to get this process started as soon as possible,” said Gillen. The bookstore will not be ready to open before classes start in the fall.

Barnes & Noble College is operating on campus now, working out of a conference room at the student center. The company would expand its footprint somewhat in advance of fall classes as students are buying books.

The University of Northern Iowa had operated a bookstore on the Hawkeye campus. But last year, the university consolidated the site in the Hawkeye Center building with its Cedar Falls campus bookstore.

Money for the project will come from the college’s plant fund as well as a capital investment from Barnes & Noble College.

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Education Reporter

I cover local schools and higher education for The Courier, where I’ve been a reporter for the past two decades. I’m a Minnesota native and have previously worked for newspapers there and in Illinois.

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