Zimmer Biomet Foundation Revealed As Big Donor For Center Lake Pavilion

During the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety meeting Friday, it was revealed that Zimmer Biomet Foundation Inc. was the anonymous donor who gave up to $2.5 million for the renovation of the Center Lake Pavilion in Warsaw’s Central Park. Pictured (L to R) are Jeff Grose, Warsaw City Councilman and Board of Works member; Christopher Stine, AIA, principal, Design Collaborative; Larry Plummer, Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department superintendent; Tabby McDonald and Adam Griner, Zimmer Biomet managers of corporate social responsibility, representing the Zimmer Biomet Foundation; Joe Thallemer, Warsaw mayor; and George Clemens, Board of Works member. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

The donor of up to $2.5 million for the Center Lake Pavilion remodel was revealed as Zimmer Biomet Foundation on Friday during the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety.

The project also was awarded to CME Corp., Fort Wayne, for $2,776,000, which includes alternates for fire protection and existing floor leveler installation.

At the April Warsaw Parks and Recreation Board meeting, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer announced a donor pledged up to $2.5 million toward the renovation. The name of the donor was withheld until a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the donor was completed. The previous public estimate of the remodel was $3.1 million.

In presenting the MOU and announcing the donor to the Board of Works on Friday, after the bid was awarded to CME, Thallemer said, “We have been purposefully concealing that donor for many reasons, but today is a very important day for the city. It’s a very important day for Zimmer Biomet. Our donation from Zimmer Biomet (Foundation), as you all know, is $2.5 million toward the project. We just awarded the bid for $2.7 million. We’ve been very fortunate enough to be able to work with Zimmer Biomet (Foundation) on this project, landing this project, upgrading a very important part of our community.”

He said the project will be “fantastic” and will involve a complete remodel of the pavilion, increasing the pavilion’s capacity and opening the pavilion up to the lake. No “real” work has been done on the pavilion since a little fire repair in the early 1990s, he said. The pavilion was built in 1935.

“The pavilion is really the heart of our community, especially during the pandemic. The importance, the role that the pavilion had in community health, blood drives, vaccinations, testing became a really critical part of our community during that time. We’d certainly like to believe that the pavilion is going to be used for a lot more – enjoyable recreational activities, as it certainly will. This will do nothing but enhance that,” Thallemer said.

Zimmer Biomet has been headquartered in Warsaw since 1927.

“They’ve been foundational to our community,” he said, adding that the company has been a leader in the orthopedic company. “We are, today, just very humbled to accept that donation, to strike an agreement with them and to thank them for their involvement in our community, supporting our community. This is just a grand gesture of their commitment to the city of Warsaw.”

Adam Griner, manager of corporate social responsibility for Zimmer Biomet, said the Zimmer Biomet Foundation is technically a separate entity from Zimmer Biomet and it’s the Foundation that is committing the $2.5 million grant. Griner co-manages the Foundation with Tabby McDonald, associate manager of Corporate social responsibility for Zimmer Biomet, who also was present at the meeting.

“We just want to share our excitement in partnering with the city in this opportunity for the city. This Foundation grant advances our commitment to the Warsaw community. I think that’s very important. And Warsaw is a very special place, home of Zimmer Biomet headquarters since 1927. Also, this community has been home to thousands of our team members who have worked there at Zimmer Biomet Warsaw facilities for many years,” Griner said.

He said they wanted to give back to the entire community in a meaningful and long-term way. After learning about the pavilion remodel project, Griner said they felt it was a perfect project because of what it provides to the people of the city, including public health initiatives and the gatherings of friends and families.

“I just want to say, on behalf of the Foundation, thank you, Mayor, Board, for the opportunity to collaborate with you on this. We look forward to the development, the progress of the pavilion and its use by the entire community in the future,” Griner stated.

Thallemer said the agreement lays out how the funds will be dispersed. He said city attorney Scott Reust reviewed it and gave his approval. The Board of Works unanimously approved the agreement between the city and the Zimmer Biomet Foundation.

By being awarded the project, CME must get started on it within 35 days. City engineer Aaron Ott said they have a year to finish the pavilion remodel.

“There’s going to be a lot of opportunity to see the progress as it goes. I personally will be giving a status report monthly to the mayor and then he’ll be able to share that to the group at the Zimmer Biomet Foundation as well,” Ott said.

Thallemer said about this time next year they’ll be able to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the pavilion and enjoy the new facilities.

“On behalf of the city, a very large thank you to the Zimmer Biomet Foundation,” he said.

Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Larry Plummer said the Foundation could have chosen a lot of other opportunities in the city but the Foundation chose the Center Lake Pavilion. He said he was very grateful for that.

Thallemer recognized Christopher Stine, from Design Collaborative, who has been a part of the process.

“It’s just been a real joy to get this project off the ground, and the contract is getting ready to be signed and we’re ready to get rolling on it, so thanks to everyone for their cooperation and collaboration, most notably Zimmer Biomet Foundation. Thank you!” Thallemer said.

Earlier in the Board of Works meeting, Ott made a recommendation to the Board on the awarding of the project.

On July 15, bids were opened and included a base bid from R. Yoder Construction, Nappanee, for $2,239,417.93; and a base bid of $2,468,000 from CME Corp. The bids were taken under advisement.

Ott said Friday that there was an oversight on the bid from R. Yoder Construction, which disqualified it as being a responsive bid, therefore leaving the CME bid as the only one to evaluate. CME’s bid was responsive, he said, and they deemed the contractor to be responsible. Ott said Design Collaborative, the Parks Department and he evaluated the bid and recommended the contract be awarded to CME.

“We don’t have the contract prepared yet for you to sign, but in addition to, if you do so make an award on this contract, we are also asking for permission to go ahead and send a notice-to-proceed to CME Corporation. The reason for that is that their bid is only a 30-day bid, and before we would be able to execute the full contract package at the next meeting, that would expire the 30 days,” Ott explained.

“So if we go ahead and give them a notice-to-proceed, that allows them to go ahead and notify all of their subcontractor teams and get their bonds and basically lock in the pricing.”

Reust said due to the timeliness of it, he recommended the Board go ahead and approve it but the city would not be bound by it until the contract is signed. Thallemer said he fully supported the contract and the notice to proceed for CME, which the Board of Works unanimously approved.