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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Construction bids open for Coast Guard museum building

    Foundation work continued Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at the future site of the National Coast Guard Museum in New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Foundation work continued Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at the future site of the National Coast Guard Museum in New London.. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    New London ― If a voice tone could convey a smile, Wes Pulver was practically grinning on Friday as he announced soliciting of construction bids began this week for the National Coast Guard Museum slated to rise later this year on the city’s waterfront.

    “This is the big one and a great milestone for this project,” the retired Coast Guard captain and president of the National Coast Guard Museum Association said. “People are going to see steel out of the ground later this fall.”

    Bids for the 89,000-square-foot, six-story museum building and its associated interior systems were put out Thursday by the North Stonington-based A/Z Corporation, which is overseeing the work.

    The scope of the work at 1790 Waterfront Dr. includes concrete foundation, skeletal steel and flooring jobs, as well as exterior metal panel, glass curtain wall and roofing components. Companies are also invited to bid on elevator, fireproofing, plumbing and electrical work.

    Pulver said 70% of the project’s anticipated $150 million price tag ― which includes the creation of a pedestrian bridge projected to connect the museum to the Water Street garage and building finishing work ― will be dedicated to main museum building construction.

    The project is being handled through a phased construction approach that began with site preparation behind Union Station about 18 months ago and continues with the installation of roughly 240 micropiles.

    “We’re about 50% done with the micropiles, which will effectively become the foundation for the museum,” Pulver said. “But the building work, that’s what the public is going to see.”

    The project cost is being paid with a combination of federal, state and donated funds. Pulver said approximately 6,000 donors so far have contributed $46 million toward a $50 million capital campaign.

    “Our goal is to reach that $50 million level this year,” he said.

    The walking bridge and interior museum finishing work portions of the project will be bid out separately later this year in the hopes of awarding those contracts by early summer.

    Pulver said a project timeline still calls for the museum building to be completed in 2025 before being turned over to Coast Guard officials who will set an official opening date.

    The bridge will likely not be completed until 2026.

    Pulver said he expects the museum will draw an estimated 300,000 visitors to the region annually, along with up to $20 million in new tourism revenue.

    Mayor Michael Passero on Friday lauded the bid openings, noting it’s been about a decade since the city transferred the land where the museum will soon sit. He anticipated completion of the museum will dovetail with the culmination of an ongoing push to revitalize the nearby downtown area.

    “Things are falling into place, timing-wise,” he said. “And downtown will be ready to welcome the museum.”

    j.penney@theday.com

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