Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Benito (Cameron Co.) – General contractors were invited to bid last week on the accordion and guitar-shaped 7,083-square-foot San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum project. The bid period ends November 15.
Muñoz & Company of San Antonio is lead architect on a project that will create a new home for three museums that have been located in an old brick building in Plaza de San Benito Park: San Benito History Museum, Freddie Fender Museum, and Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame & Museum.
Bidding opened Oct. 17 and the award date is Nov. 22. The scheduled construction start is Dec. 5 and the project is to be completed by Sept. 8, 2017.
The city of San Benito has been working on plans for a new museum since at least 2012. The City Commission approved the initial design concept in April.
San Benito museum / rear-exterior perspective.
Muñoz & Co. collaborated with Meg Jorn, principle of Megamorphosis Architecture and Interior Design in Harlingon. Steve Tillotson of Muñoz & Co. is responsible to releasing bid documents.
Architect’s Design Statement:
“We tried to let the building be an abstract representation of the musical heritage of San Benito with the facing wall looking like the bellows of an accordion and the front portion of the building being symbolic of a guitar laying on the ground.
“We tried to use natural daylight in there … the mechanical court enclosure will look like pierced papel picado representing festive celebrations. The entrance fascia from the low-lying roof that faces Heywood Street will be brightly ornamented like the decorative bands of the circular opening of a guitar.”
The museum will be placed at the northeast corner of the plaza block, off the intersection of East Heywood Street and North Crockett Street.
Site plan for the block.
Tillotson gave a status presentation to the commissioners at a Sept. 20 public regular session. Because the project site is adjacent to the “potentially historic old library building (Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center), it went through a review by the Texas Historical Commission. Tillotson said the project received a positive review.
The issue of fire control was raised and Tillotson said a fire sprinkler system was not a requirement. Commissioner Joe D. Gonzalez made a motion to add a sprinkler system as an alternate in the bid, and that motion carried.
On Oct. 13, a fundraising gala was held at Oak Hill Event Center to raise funds for the displays of the various affected museums.
About $1.9 million was previously committed ($1 million from an U.S. Economic Development Administration grant and $880,000 from a certificate of obligation match). The construction budget is estimated at $1.4 million. Muñoz & Co. was brought under contract in February 2015.
Once the building is complete, the exhibit installation will take approximately 30 days. The museums are slated to reopen in their new home on or about Oct. 20, 2017.
Street view of the project site.