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City whittles Mars contractors to six
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Six contractors will submit requests for proposals for work on the Mars Theatre, following Springfield City Council’s vote Wednesday night.

Ten contractors presented requests for qualifications, and a subcommittee recommended six contractors for the final round after scoring the candidates on experience, qualifications, local participation, financial strength and references.

“There are some extremely large companies and some that are smaller,” Mayor Barton Alderman said of the half-dozen firms to bid on the project.

Dabbs Williams General Contractors scored highest on the list, and the other five, who also received at least 90 points in the scoring, were Philip Kieffer Construction, J.T. Turner Construction, Kieffer Construction, PCI Pioneer Construction and Choate Construction.

The construction schedule calls for work to be done by June 30, according to City Manager Brett Bennett. The city is about a week and a half behind its schedule in awarding a bid and initiating construction.

“It’s a fairly easy process,” said city public works director Matthew Morris. “You do have a very good range of contractors.”

The Mars Theatre has received a $20,000 grant from the Fox Theatre Institute.

“So we want to meet their guidelines,” said Gussie Nease of the Springfield Revitalization Corporation.

A representative from the Fox Theatre Institute is scheduled to be at the Mars Theatre Friday to discuss the building’s history with Dr. Jack Ramsey and get details of how the building looked when it was in operation.

City council could get bids in next month, and work on the restoration is slated to begin no later than 15 days after the bid is awarded.

“Let’s get this thing built,” said council member Kenny Usher.