Waterline project bids/acoustic improvements at White Auditorium highlight Emporia City Commission discussions Featured

Emporia City Commissioners Emporia City Commissioners KVOE File Photo

Emporia City Commissioners are moving forward on improvement projects for both city infrastructure and William L White Auditorium.

During their study session Wednesday afternoon, City Engineer Jim Ubert recommended commissioners reject bids received for the Sixth Street Waterline project in Emporia. The reason being is the city received two bids for the project, both significantly higher than project estimates according to Ubert.


Ubert also recommended, after the formal rejection of the bids, commissioners rebid the project. Ubert says there are several factors which may have attributed to the high bids including the availability of construction crews during the "peak construction season."

The full scope of work will entail the placement of a new 10-inch water line which will connect a line on both Commerical and Merchant Streets according to Ubert. The item will be placed on the commission's action session agenda for next Wednesday.

Plans are to have the project completed by January of next year.

In addition to the waterline project, commissioners also spoke with representatives of Audio Lite on addressing acoustic issues within White Auditorium. According to commissioner Danny Giefer, the city has received several complaints about the audio quality within the auditorium during events such as basketball games and most recently the Beef Fest awards ceremony.

Audio Lite ran extensive acoustic tests on the arena several years ago, which were then recently duplicated by Robert Coffeen, an adjunct professor and lecturer at KU, and KU acoustics students. The tests all identified the same acoustical issues, and the recommendation to address said issues is the installation of sound-absorbing acoustic panels and hanging banners.

Cody Maxfield of Audio Lite says this is the most common option for treating acoustic issues in a facility such as White Auditorium.


Maxfield says one of the issues identified during testing was a seven-second acoustic decay period. He tells KVOE News the new panels and banners should reduce the decay period from seven to three seconds.

Maxfield says if they are able to work full time -- which is dependant on the auditorium's event schedule -- the project could be completed within a month. Commissioners plan to vote on the project's contract next week.

In other business, commissioners also held discussions on Rural Water District #2 and reviewed Emporia building and construction regulations as well as ordinances for international residential and building codes. The Emporia City Commission will hold an action session next Wednesday at 7 pm inside the municipal courtroom at White Auditorium.

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