Brooklyn’s Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center to be completed two years faster through competitive bidding

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New York Construction Report staff writer

A ground-breaking ceremony was held this week for the new $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center at the Nostrand Playground in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. NYC’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is managing the construction on behalf of NYC Parks.

Earlier this year the city’s capital process reform task force – a group of leaders representing the construction industry, labor, and minority- and women-owned business enterprises – released 39 recommendations to improve the city’s capital process, from project initiation to closeout, including authorizing progressive design-build, a one-step procurement process that would allow the city to quickly select a project team based on qualifications and collaborate throughout the essential early phases of design.

The new center is named for Brooklyn-born politician, and the first African American woman to serve in Congress, Shirley Chisholm, the daughter of immigrant parents from Guyana who made history as the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties.

“This project is not only a monument to the famed civil rights leader Shirley Chisholm, it also represents a milestone in city construction as we continue to implement design-build in our capital program,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “The design-build method involves contracting teams’ designers and builders together as one unit, leading to fewer delays and conflicts, better problem solving, and faster and more efficient projects. Using design-build, we plan to complete the new Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center by the end of 2025 – two full years faster than would be expected with lowest bidder contracting.”

Expected to be completed at the end of 2025, the state-of the art recreation center will include multipurpose rooms, a gymnasium, walking track, indoor swimming pool, fitness, strength, and cardio rooms and a teaching kitchen. The center will also include a media lab named in honor of Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr. A Grenadian emigrant and community stalwart.

The project is part of DDC’s design-build pilot program and will be completed by the end of 2025, a full two years faster than would be expected under the preexisting lowest-bidder contracting system. Under design-build, design and construction firms cooperate under one overall contract for all design and construction services. This approach increases cooperation between the teams and can cut nine to 12 months off a project’s timeline. The use of design-build also means that construction can begin while the building’s final design is still being developed, something that would not be possible under lowest-bidder contracting.

“The Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center has the inspiring mission of serving the community with the same dedication as its namesake, so we are honored to bring our design-build expertise to this important project,” said Steve Sommer, executive general manager and president, east coast region construction, Lendlease. “By collaborating with Studio Gang, DDC, and NYC Parks, we are excited to successfully deliver this recreation center in East Flatbush.”

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