The Generator and the Pine Bluff Construction and Trade Alliance held a meet and greet Thursday evening in the Henslee Conference Center at Jefferson Regional Medical Center to discuss an upcoming project that will include approximately 254,000 square feet of new construction and 86,000 square feet of renovations at the hospital.

The Generator is an arm of Go Forward Pine Bluff that's designed to put local contractors in touch with builders to create more local jobs.

CDI Contractors, LLC, based out of Little Rock, has been selected as general contractor for the project and used the meet and greet to introduce themselves to local contractors and subcontractors.

Approximately 25 local contractors and other business owners showed up for the event.

Senior project manager David Cooan told the contractors in attendance that this is a ripe opportunity to join the team. The project is still in the early stages, and the budget is still being finalized, Cooan said.

JRMC officials have not said how much the project will cost.

“Right now, we are at 100 percent C.D. (construction document) stage where the design has been developed, we are completing pricing of that design, and we are meeting with the hospital and the architect for assumptions and clarifications on what is in, what is out, and how they want to see the project come together,” Cooan said.

“We will then make decisions on pricing for what we think budget-wise we should live with and what we should try to scale back, or even scale forward. It is not always scaling back, it is sometimes ‘hey, can we do this?’, so we add to it.”

“We are still in the back and forth process," he added. "Right now, there are still some decisions that have to be made. We are literally days away from me presenting a budget, then we will go through a budget exercise for what is this, or what is that, then we will make some decisions on the best way to peel back the onion, and we will move forward.”

Cooan said that an exact start date for the project has not been set, but they are hoping to put boots on the ground sometime late this summer.

“Right now, it is up in the air, because budget-wise, we are working through some things,” Cooan said. “I’m putting together the budget, and we are finishing drawings. I expect that, in the next few months, we will submit everything to the city to get the plan review. Then we will go through the plan review to see if there are any modifications that need to be done. Right now, we are targeting late summer.”

  

There are five phases to the project, with the first two requiring the most work. The first two phases are estimated to take two years and will include both demolition and construction.

“The majority of the work happens in those first two phases in the first two years,” Cooan said. “This project will take 44 months. We will be working around occupied buildings that are still being used. We will build something, then hand it over, and they will go work in that building. Then we will build something new, hand it over, and they will work in that building. We take something from them to demolish it, and we will build something else. So, it is a lot like a dance with what we are doing.”

Cooan said that it is important to use local contractors for a project like this and that the relationships formed with the local contractors can help lead to more contracts later down the road.

“We want to use local contractors as much as possible,” Cooan said. “We like to develop relationships, because I have contractors from Little Rock who don’t have people for their projects. So, what we can bring to the table with this is that we know the local market, and I know where we can find these folks. It is sort of like having a friend in some place that you just moved to, and they can connect you to things that are going on in the market.”

CDI Contractors LLC has been involved with several major construction efforts across the state, to include the recent renovations and upgrades to Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

“I just finished working on Razorback Stadium,” Cooan said. “We are also working on the Bank of the Ozarks corporate headquarters in Little Rock. Those are the two biggest budget items we are just finishing up.”