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Heritage Center

A new rendering of the future Equal Rights Heritage Center in downtown Auburn.

Four New York contractors, including two from the Auburn area, will help construct the $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center across from Memorial City Hall. 

J&E Electric, an electrical contractor based in Aurelius, and Siracusa Mechanical, a plumbing and heating contractor, will have roles in the construction of the downtown Auburn facility. J&E Electric was awarded a $344,100 contract for the electrical work. Siracusa Mechanical won a $140,320 contract to install the plumbing systems. 

The general contract to build the 7,500-square-foot center was awarded to FAHS Construction Group, a Binghamton-based firm. The company won the contract with a bid of $5,027,000. 

Another firm, HMI Mechanical Systems in Waterloo, won a $454,000 contract to install a geothermal heating, ventilation and cooling system. 

The state is reviewing bids for exhibit fabrication and installation within the heritage center. The winning bidder will be selected in January. 

There were 16 bids submitted for the construction, electrical, mechanical and plumbing work, according to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill said in a phone interview Thursday he is pleased that two local contractors will be involved in the construction of the center. 

"That keeps local people working," he said. "The local people can work on local projects. A lot of our construction workers have been hurting with not a lot of work around. It's terrific news." 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced plans to build a welcome center in Auburn last fall. The 2017-18 state budget included funding for the construction of welcome centers in each of the 10 economic development regions. Auburn was selected as the site of central New York's facility. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Auburn in September to announce the state would commit $10 million to the project. The construction of the center is being supported by funds through the CNY Rising, the region's economic development program. 

The heritage center will feature a tourism center promoting equal rights landmarks in the area, such as the national parks honoring Harriet Tubman and the women's rights movement. It will also include a market with locally made food products. Improvements will be made to surrounding infrastructure, including streets and the downtown parking garage. 

Construction will commence in March. The facility is expected to open in fall 2018. 

"The Equal Rights Heritage Center will honor those who strove and struggled to seek out equality and correct the injustices that once prevented equal rights for all," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. 

Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.