- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A new contractor is on the verge of resuming construction of a new Patuxent River Naval Air Museum and Visitor Center.
The Maryland State Highway Administration has given its approval of a new contract, and the St. Mary’s County commissioners approved Tuesday a new agreement with the state to finish the long-delayed project.
Biscayne Contractors of Alexandria, Va., was awarded the contract of $4,988,742 in August to take over the project from Broughton Construction, which did not meet performance bond standards after winning the contract in September 2012.
A construction meeting is scheduled this month with Biscayne and then work can proceed, said George Erichsen, director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. The new completion date is set in February 2015, pushed back from August 2014, Erichsen said.
The new building will be built in front of the temporary space now used as a museum on the north side of Gate 1 of Patuxent River Naval Air Station on Route 235. The museum has been in that temporary setting since 2001.
Broughton Construction did some initial work on the site late last year until a stop-work order was issued because of the performance bond issue.
Since then, some of the fencing around the foundation work has fallen down, either due to wind or automobile collisions, said Commissioner Todd Morgan (R).
“We’ll take care of it,” Erichsen said.
The naval air museum has collected $1.5 million in private donations and has received $3.4 from the federal government, $1.2 million from the state and $625,000 from the county. In the meantime, the facility lost its formal status as a Navy museum in October because of anticipated federal budget cuts, so the Navy won’t be paying for the $40,000 in utilities bills a year. The museum remains as a Navy Heritage Center, and now the facility can charge fees to use the space to offset lost funding.