The man responsible for overseeing the City of Amarillo’s MPEV construction project said the work is three weeks ahead of schedule and the steel costs will come in under budget.

Facilities Director Jerry Danforth said the enhanced timeframe was bolstered by an unanticipated acceleration of the initial earth moving phase.

“We had originally planned to be moving the large scale excavation up to the end of this month,” Danforth said while providing city council members with a construction update Tuesday. “Our original projections were to move 120 to 150 dump truck loads of dirt off of the site per day. We were actually doing 300 to 400 loads per day during the mass excavation.”

City officials said the project’s targeted completion date is Feb. 1, 2019, with a deadline of April 1 for completion of some facilities, such as front offices.

“Our building team and architects are confident we will meet those dates,” Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller stated previously with regard to the completion timelines. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but we’re not going to back down from that for a moment. They wouldn’t sign the contract if they thought they would be late because there are penalties on it.”

While hesitant to provide specifics, Danforth, who urged residents to view the project’s progress via, said savings would be realized after reviewing the steel purchase numbers.

“We received several of the bid packages last week and this week,” he said. “I know you had some concerns about the structural steel components and I can share with you those actually have come in underneath our budget. I am reluctant to share those until the contracts are signed, but you will see those numbers probably next week. We’re at the point now where we’re actually building construction pads for the buildings to be built on. On the first base side, that building pad will be completed by the end of the week and ready to start receiving all of the underground work. The outline of the field is basically created.”

Meanwhile, the owner of Amarillo’s new Double-A baseball team, Elmore Sports Group, said fans will have a chance to pick the team name this month, but will have to wait until September to learn its Major League Baseball affiliation.

The team coming to Amarillo will play the 2018 minor league season as the San Antonio Missions in the Texas League. The Missions are currently the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

Officials said minor league baseball owners throughout the U.S. sign a Player Development Contract with a major league team, determining the affiliation housed in each minor league city. The normal PDC runs for two years, with a few rare cases extended to four. Elmore Sports Group currently has a two-year PDC with the Padres expiring in September.