Future of Lawton Youth Sports Complex up in the air after city terminates agreement with architecture company

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) – The future of Lawton’s Youth Sports Complex is up in the air.

That’s after Lawton City Council voted to terminate the agreement with an architecture company working on it at today’s meeting.

You may remember city council approving a conceptual design after Stantec Architecture presented it last December.

That’s been scrapped due to differences of opinion between the company and city staff, according to Dewayne Burk.

Nearly two years after funding was allocated for Lawton’s Youth Sports Complex with the 2020 Propel CIP, it may be put on hold until officials can find a new architecture firm.

According to Deputy City Manager Dewayne Burk, the city and Stantec couldn’t come to terms on costs, statutory requirements and even the physical appearance of the facility.

“Ultimately, it’s the citizens of Lawton’s facility and we’re going to have staff that’s going to be providing oversight and to us, you know, if it’s going to be our facility, then we need to retain final say on how it’s going to look,” Dewayne said.

Ward 3 council member Linda Chapman raised concerns about “misinformation” she’d seen on social media.

“Some conversations were that it wasn’t the city who had a concern about the architecture company, but that the architecture company did not like the city,” Chapman said.

Dewayne said that’s not the case.

“The conversations that we’ve had with the architectural firm have been professional,” Burk said. “You can be professionals and disagree on things and the way we do business. Ultimately, our goal is to get the best deal for the citizens of Lawton and make sure we protect our interests.”

He added they’d planned to apply for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant for extra funding, but in order to do that, the city must have a “shovel ready” project and application in by July.

He told council that with the money being allocated long ago, and inflation, it’s possible that they’ll need more than the $12 million originally budgeted for the facility.

Councilman Jay Burk said they needed to make adjustments and stick with the amount set aside.

“Maybe it’s a location adjustment because of the way it’s being built. I don’t know. There’s got to be a way to fix this. There’s just so many options, I think, out there and I think we got to do it right. We don’t want to end up in a deal where we’re $30 million into the sports facility. I just can’t imagine that,” Jay said.

Ward 8 Councilman Randy Warren sits on the Lawton Youth Sports Authority.

He said this doesn’t change the mission.

In fact, it could be a blessing in disguise, according to Warren.

“This doesn’t really close any doors,” Warren said. “It might even open some doors to other projects and other activities and things of that nature. It gives us a chance to look at everything.”

Dewayne said there’s not really a timeline on the facility.

His team plans to go back to the drawing board and be ready for next year’s DCIP grant.

They’ll also be reviewing other architectural firms and put it out for bid.

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