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Thompson Park Zoo’s aviary project probably on hold till next year

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Construction on the city’s aviary project at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park probably won’t start until spring.

City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said Friday that a tight design schedule most likely will delay work on the new multipurpose/educational building “until the weather breaks next year.” City officials had said they hoped it would get off the ground by the end of the year.

Mr. Hauk will meet Aug. 29 with representatives of Bernier, Carr & Associates to re-evaluate the design and come up with more accurate costs to operate the building once it is built. The City Council then will be given an update on what is discussed at that meeting when it meets Sept. 6.

“We still have to hammer out the schedule,” Mr. Hauk said.

By the time the design is finished this fall, it probably will be too late to get bids out and select a general contractor in November for construction to start this year, Mr. Hauk said.

Bernier, Carr already has started doing some design work since the council selected it for the job in June. Before that, the council was hung up on choosing a design team when council members Roxanne M. Burns and Jeffrey M. Smith both voted against hiring Bernier, Carr for the $42,774 contract because they were under the impression that GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying was going to get the contract, since it had worked pro bono to put together conceptual plans for the project.

With Councilman Joseph M. Butler Jr. abstaining, the council was deadlocked on the Bernier, Carr contract until Ms. Burns changed her vote.

The project entails remodeling the A-frame building into a mostly glass-enclosed structure, where educational programs, birthday parties and other indoor events may be held. The facility would feature areas for gatherings and nonpermanent exhibit space.

City officials have said they believe it’s an important project because it’s the first structure patrons see upon entering the zoo.

The zoo also lacks indoor event space, zoo officials have said.

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