Frisco awards $1.5 million contract for ‘Big Dig’ marina project

Frisco Bay Marina Friday, June 22, in Frisco.
Hugh Carey /

The “Big Dig” is starting to take shape.

The Frisco Town Council approved an ordinance awarding a nearly $1.5 million contract to Schofield Excavation on Tuesday night, signaling another step forward for the town’s planned improvements at the marina.

The Big Dig, the first notable step in the Frisco Marina Park Master Plan, is meant to address operational challenges at the marina by deepening a portion of the reservoir by as much as 17 feet, a process that will require the excavation of about 85,000 cubic yards of material from the lake bottom.

Once complete, the marina will be able to operate at considerably lower reservoir levels than it can now, and presumably extend its season by about 30 days. Additionally, the project opens the door for the implementation of further phases of the master plan over the next couple years, including a new office planned on-site, improved parking areas, expanded rental capacities and more that the town hopes will increase revenues.

The ordinance passed in a split 6-1 decision. Councilwoman Deborah Shaner was the lone dissenter, citing concerns over the project’s cost.

“I just can’t say enough times how much I hope you guys really get serious about the value of engineering this project,” said Shaner. “I’m still voting no as a representative vote. This is just too much money.”

But the price tag was likely to be hefty regardless of who was awarded the contract. The town issued a request for proposals in late December and received six separate bids ranging from under $1.2 million to almost $2.3 million. Schofield Excavation’s bid of $1,474,222 was the third lowest price on the list, though the interview process mixed with the group’s experience in Summit and Eagle counties swung the decision in their favor.

“Their presentation was really impressive,” said Mark Luna, a civil engineer with Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, and a member of the interview committee. “They thought about the process more than anybody else did across the board. They thought about what we would need, the timing of things. It was really more thought out than with anyone else … based on what we saw from some of the lower bidders we felt they were the most qualified.”

The Big Dig, along with other capital projects scheduled at the marina over the next two years, will be funded through the town’s Marina Enterprise Revenue Bond sales. The town began selling the bonds on Feb. 6, seeking up to $5.4 million in funds to be paid off over the next 30 years through revenue generated by the marina. Bonnie Moinet, Frisco’s finance director, said the town sold out of bonds on the first day.

“We had a really successful sale with offers far in excess of the $5.4 million,” said Moinet. “I just think it shows that investors had faith in the future of the town of Frisco, the staff, its operations and the town council.”

Schofield Excavation is ready to get to work as soon as possible assuming the ordinance passes on second reading, currently scheduled for the next town council meeting on Feb. 26. If the ordinance passes, the project is expected to be completed by June 1, 2019.

But there are still some areas of concern for the town. Frisco currently holds a permit for the dig from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but is still waiting on a modified permit that includes the updated volume and location of the excavation. While the town is still expecting authorization by March, any delay could potentially throw a wrench into the plans.

“I’m still a little nervous about the Army Corps permit,” said Councilwoman Jessica Burley. “We’re in crunch time. I don’t know if there’s anything we can do about it. But if we don’t get that, this project doesn’t go.”

Because the town is disturbing wetlands with the Big Dig, the town will also have to perform wetland mitigation projects on two separate sites — about 2.1 total acres near the town’s Walmart and behind the Willow Preserve — scheduled to begin in April. The town is working with a wetlands expert from AlpineECO on the project.

Of note, the contract with Schofield Excavation likely puts the company on a short list of suitors as the town begins pushing out requests for proposals for other capital projects on the marina.

“That was a question we asked everybody in the interviews — that we had this upcoming work and are you interested?” said Tom Hogeman, Frisco Bay Marina manager. “We don’t exactly know what will work best. But they did express their interest, which can certainly work in our favor.”

Schofield Excavations is an independently owned business based in Gypsum. The company also operates Williams Placer Pit off Tiger Road near Breckenridge.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.