Bidders on state park’s concert stage upgrade go wide of mark, delaying work

A hiccup in the bidding process will delay a key upgrade slated next year for the outdoor concert venue in White River State Park.

About $27 million in improvements are planned for the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn venue on the east side of the park, across West Washington Street from Victory Field.

The first phase of the project, initially scheduled to be complete in time for the 2019 concert season, included new restrooms on the north side of the venue, a permanent stage and infrastructure refinements.

Project bids for the stage came in over budget, requiring the White River State Park Development Commission to redesign and rebid the work, according to a media release on Monday from the commission. As a result, construction of the stage will be delayed by one year.

The restrooms still will be finished by 2019.

"Visitors have routinely suggested we add more restrooms, so we chose to prioritize that phase of the renovation in order to meet an important need," Carolene Mays-Medley, executive director of the commission, said in the release.

Phase two of the project will include adding 2,000 fixed seats, construction of a VIP lounge, a canopy-covered seating area, artist amenities and additional infrastructure improvements.

The existing concert venue has a capacity of 7,500 and has hosted concerts since 2004. Every year, the stage at the park is built and torn down for concerts.

The revamped venue is expected to have a total capacity of about 6,800, with 2,000 permanent seats. The improvements could allow the park to host other events in addition to concerts, such as press conferences and graduations for high schools and colleges.

The $27 million cost of the project is expected to be split between state government and private sources.

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