Officials for the California State University, Fresno Association and Clark Construction Group report progress in their negotiations to select a builder for the Save Mart Center project, and that Clark has issued bids for site work and excavation.

Deborah Adishian-Astone, executive director of auxiliary services at Fresno State and Save Mart Center coordinator, said positive discussions with the Bethesda, Md.-based builder prompted the Association to allow Clark to release the bid packages.

“We have been very encouraged by our meetings with Clark and have asked them to proceed to collect bids for the initial site work including excavation of the site, which will then allow for the construction of the building’s foundation,” said Adishian-Astone.

Talks between the Association and Clark began after the Association and Turner Construction Co., were unable to reach mutual agreement on terms of a contract.

The Association had structured the builder selection process to provide alternatives if the two sides could not reach an agreement and throughout the six-month negotiation period with Turner, design work on the project continued. That allows the site work to move forward now, Adishian-Astone said.

“Clark has agreed to work with us at this time to keep the project on schedule,” she said. “This will enable us to get mass excavation for the building and foundation work

completed prior to inclement weather.”

The Association expects to make a final decision on a builder by late September. The Association remains committed to requiring the builder to involve local subcontractors and suppliers in the project, Adishian-Astone said.

Clark Construction was one of the builders pre-qualified during the initial builder selection process that was conducted earlier this year.

Since its founding in 1906, Clark Construction has become one of the nation’s largest builders, with annual revenues over $2 billion. It has built facilities such as FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins; the MCI Center, a 20,000-seat arena in Washington, D.C.; and Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland.

“The Clark team is excited to be a part of the success of the Save Mart project,” said Joelle Hertel, vice president of Clark. “We look forward to working with the California State University, Fresno Association and the subcontractor community in Fresno.”

Phase I of the Save Mart Center construction began last month with infrastructure improvements and widening of Woodrow Avenue between Shaw and Barstow avenues. Dave Christian Construction is performing the work, which will be completed by Aug. 24.

The Save Mart Center will be the largest privately funded building ever constructed in the California State University system. The center will be located on the east side of the Fresno State campus, on the north side of Shaw Avenue, between Woodrow Avenue and Chestnut Avenue, near the State Route 168 interchange.