City Hall will make another play for a sports field next to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in the coming weeks.

After initial proposals to build a temporary field came in at more than double the proposed budget, staff solicited new bids for the project and have said Council will be presented with a recommended contract in February.

Council directed staff to begin work on a potential field at the site in May of 2016 and asked staff to provide quarterly updates on progress. During the first update in October of 2016 council heard initial bids for the work were vastly over budget.

Three firms were asked to provide costs for a feasibility/concept phase and a design development/construction phase for a temporary field. Two companies submitted bids at $423,970 and $802,800. A third company contacted to participate in the bid process declined.

City Hall has budged $200,000 for design of the field.

After balking at the proposed cost, Council asked staff to go back and find new bids for the project that were within the budget, initiate discussions with the Coastal Commission and work with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) on potential partnerships.

“The RFP was reissued on October 31, 2016 and closed on November 30, 2016. Nine teams submitted proposals ranging in price from $165,900 to $531,400,” said an information item posted to the City’s website. “Staff from Public Works and Community and Cultural Services reviewed the proposals and short-listed three teams. Interviews were held on January 9, 2017 and staff will return to Council in February for award of the design contract.”

Working from a preliminary analysis, the temporary field would be about 60 X 110 yards plus sideline space. The soccer/lacrosse field would use about 430 surface parking spots and include lighting, fencing and a temporary restroom trailer.

The Coastal Commission has some jurisdiction over the site and any proposal that would remove parking spaces would need to account for their replacement. The report said City staff have begun meeting with the Coastal Commission and are in ongoing discussions with the School District.

Discussions with SMMUSD are focused on potential funding for a permanent field and parking facility. Initial estimates have pegged the cost of the project at up to $85 million and it’s possible the district could contribute up to $50 million through School Bond Measure ES. SMMUSD has a plan to upgrade the Santa Monica High School facility in several phases and city/school staff are working on options for prioritizing phased Samohi upgrades and the new field.

“While SMMUSD could contribute a portion of the necessary funds from the District’s ES bond measure that was approved by the voters in November 2012, City staff have determined that a General Obligation bond requiring approval by two-thirds of local voters would be needed to fully fund the project,” said the update. “With this in mind, staff from the District and City have also been meeting regularly to develop a recommended term sheet for a partnership project and plan to return to Council and the Board of Education in February for direction. At that time, City staff will also bring forward a recommendation on consultant selection for the temporary field and information from the meeting with Coastal Commission staff.”