For the first time since opening the Burnsville Performing Arts Center in 2009, the city will open up its management contract for competitive bidding.
“This is not a startup,” said Burnsville Performing Arts Center Advisory Commission chair Sal Mondelli “We’re in a growth mode, so we need somebody who’s got a track record of growing things, of taking it to the next level.”
The City of Burnsville's contract with VenuWorks, the company currently managing BPAC’s operations, is nearing its end. On Wednesday the commission conducted a formal discussion of the Request For Proposal process, which will allow other management companies to put in a bid for the BPAC.
This is the first time the city has used an RFP process in relation to the operations and management contractor for BPAC. The city selected VenuWorks (then known as Compass Facility Management) without completing an RFP.
VenuWorks will not be excluded from submitting their own RFP. If selected as the winning bidder, VenuWorks can be hired again by the city under a new contract.
“We’re looking for a competitive process,” said Heather Johnston, director of administrative services and CFO for the city. “We hope that VenuWorks will apply.”
Current drafts of the RFP process schedule state that the city will distribute the RFP on Nov. 5. Statements of proposal are slotted to be due by the end of November.
A designated RFP review team is currently scheduled to conduct interviews with top contenders in mid-January of next year. The RFP review team will include city representatives specializing in facilities, finance and administration, as well as several BPAC commissioners, who will be determined by the next commission meeting.
The team will then recommend their preferred management company to city council for approval.
The RFP process draft states that the council will consider the contract for the recommended management company on June 4.
The company selected through the RFP process would typically be granted a one-year contract which would be renewable for up to five years. This drafted timeline was designed with a six-month window for operational transition in mind, although Wednesday’s work session yielded discussion about whether the timeline should be adjusted.
In its short history, the BPAC has seen its fair share of change.
“We went through the first two years here and it was a struggle,” said commission vice chair Mark Pevan.
Since the inaugural season, top management has changed three times and the center has frequently run in the red. However, Pevan also stated that he credits BPAC’s current staff with the center’s recent turnaround.
Various management companies have expressed interest in managing operations for BPAC. The city is currently generating a list of management companies to which they will send bidding information.
The RFP process is currently scheduled to be discussed again at the next BPAC commission meeting on Sept. 26.