Construction for the Bryant Commons amphitheater is on schedule, according to P.C. Simonton & Associates project engineer Marcus Sack.
The contractor, R.H. Tyson Construction Company, has worked hard to meet the Sept. 16 completion date, Sack said, and despite repeated rain delays, construction is on schedule.
“I’m actually running a little bit ahead of schedule right now,” said Scott Nail with R.H. Tyson, who, on Monday, poured five yards of concrete into the stage area’s foundation. “We’re definitely going to be done by Sept. 16 — weather permitting, of course.”
The stage area faces uphill toward Highway 84. Although the acoustics in a Greek-style amphitheater would allow for reasonable sound quality, Sack said, an outdoor sound system is being installed to ensure as many as 1,500 concert goers sitting on the grassy hilltop can enjoy the music.
He said the changes agreed to by the city council during its June 7 meeting saved more than $180,000 on the project. The original bid by R.H. Tyson was $585,874, but Simonton engineers worked with the R.H. Tyson planners to reduce their total cost to $405,689.
He said Simonton’s engineering fees for civil and project engineers, grant management and construction inspections were about one-fourth of the total $101,212 costs for engineering, consulting and inspections fees.
The other fees were paid to an independent electrical engineer, structural engineer and sound engineer, and special inspections for structural code, he said.
City Councilman David Anderson said the city received a $500,000 grant from One Georgia for the amphitheater. Total cost for the amphitheater is $506,901.
Anderson said the city’s goal is to hold the annual Blues & BBQ concert at the amphitheater.
However, according to Hinesville Downtown Development Authority program assistant Katrina Barrow, the Sept. 16 completion date and Sept. 29 concert date are too close together to risk scheduling the event at the amphitheater. Something might delay its completion, she said.
In addition to the amphitheater, the 150-acre Bryant Commons already includes a 15-acre pond with three aerating fountains, Sack said.
After installing the already-approved gates and security fencing, he said a one-mile walking trail is the next major construction project. However, he added that no work will begin until funding for each project is found, including the walking trail.
The walking trail would begin at the amphitheater and a future pavilion and picnic area. It would pass by a smaller pond and future veterans’ memorial, around the big pond and back. Sack said it would be easy enough to make a simple walking trail, but handicapped residents wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.
“We want a trail that’s wheelchair accessible,” he said. “That’s why we’re looking for a grant to pay for a paved trail.”
He said the city submitted a request last year for a grant to pay for the trail, but it was not approved. The city is resubmitting the request this year.
Sack said there also are plans to stock the pond with fish as an added attraction for local residents.
Anderson said he expects operation hours eventually will be established, and the public will be allowed to enjoy the new municipal park. Sack said he hasn’t heard when the city might open the park but assumes it won’t be until the amphitheater is completed and the security fencing and gates are installed.
He pointed to the intersection of Ryon Avenue and Highway 84 on working drawings of the park, noting construction plans for lining up Ryon Avenue with the front gate of Bryant Commons. The park entrance will be moved directly in front of the Bryant Commons museum, he said.
Sack also said a possible traffic light at that intersection is within the Georgia Department of Transportation’s long-range plans for Highway 84.