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Supervisors reject first bid on law enforcement center project

Supervisors reject first bid on law enforcement center project
These exterior views show the latest design concept for the new Floyd County law enforcement center, Sheriff’s Office and courthouse updates.
Press graphic by Bob Steenson/Prochaska & Associates drawings.
By Bob Steenson,

Floyd County supervisors rejected the lone bid for site work on the new law enforcement center project at a special meeting Monday morning, after the bid came in two to three times larger than the estimated cost.

And the board continued discussing relocating county offices out of the courthouse during courthouse work.

The first major bid package on the project to build a new county jail and sheriff’s offices and to update the county courthouse included site grading and utility work and some demolition.

The bid deadline was last Thursday, and the single bid came from Cole Excavating Inc., of Greene, for $503,882.

Sid Samuels, president and owner of The Samuels Group, the business hired by the county as the construction manager, said Monday that a consultant hired by the architect had estimated the cost for that part of the project at a little over $142,000, and his company’s budget estimate had been $257,539.

Samuels said the board had the option of accepting the bid, or rejecting it and adding the site work package as part of the next big bid package, which will include the majority of the rest of the project.

“Considering the difference in the budget versus the actual bid, I think my suggestion would be to include that into the next bid package and rebid it,” he said.

The board voted 2-0 to reject the single bid received. Supervisor Doug Kamm said he was abstaining from the vote because there was a chance his company, Kamm Excavating Corp., could be hired to do some of the work for Cole Excavating if that company got the bid.

The board also directed Samuels to have the architect redraw the plans for the first floor of the courthouse now that it looks like the state Department of Human Services county offices will not move into the courthouse. Current plans show individual offices created on that floor.

Samuels said he would like the plans to not have to include addendums regarding possible changes, that could discourage some bidders from looking at the project.

Bids on the No. 2 project package had been expected to be due Aug. 29, with a winning bidder selected by the board Sept. 5. The change in bid documents will likely add about a week to that schedule.

The board also again discussed the possibility of relocating county offices to the 500 N. Grand Building, the former middle school, during construction.

Currently the second bid package contains language regarding working while the owner occupies the facility, Samuels said. If the county decides to relocate during that time, that language could also be changed in the bid package.

Samuels has estimated about seven months could be saved in the total project time if workers have unrestricted access to an empty courthouse, versus having to work around staff and the public.

Courthouse updates include all new windows, ductwork on all floors for a new heating and air-conditioning system to be shared with the law enforcement center, and a fire suppression sprinkler system throughout the building, which it does not have now.

Supervisor Linda Tjaden and Auditor Gloria Carr presented some estimates of cost savings and additional costs regarding relocating county offices during construction.

Potential savings on construction costs was estimated at about $210,000, although both Tjaden and Carr said those numbers could change as more information was gathered.

Potential costs include $25,666 for share of utilities plus rent and share of maintenance at 500 N. Grand, although Tjaden said no deal has yet been agreed to with the new owner of part of the building, developer Shawn Foutch.

Additionally, there would be $30,000 to $35,000 in networking costs to bring internet and phone service to the offices that would be used and to establish communications with City Hall, although county IT Director Bernie Solomon said most of the equipment needed could be used in the new law enforcement center or in the courthouse.

Another issue is what to do with the detainees in the county jail, currently located on the top floor of the courthouse with the sheriff’s department.

One plan would be to complete the LEC before starting renovation of the top floor of the courthouse, so the detainees could be transferred directly to the new county jail.

But if the Sheriff’s Office needs to vacate that floor so that the courthouse can be unoccupied while construction goes on at the same time as the new jail is being built, the detainees will need to be housed elsewhere.

Sheriff Jeff Crooks said he has been talking with Mitchell County about housing the detainees at that county’s jail. He said it is possible the county will give him a daily rate lower than it usually charges, and it could be even lower if Floyd County jailers help out by working at the Mitchell County Jail while Floyd County detainees are there.

Based on an average daily census of about 14 detainees, plus jailer mileage and overtime, that cost could be about $216,651, Auditor Carr said.

Supervisor Tjaden said the time estimate, both for construction work and for relocation expenses, are just estimates, and it’s likely some departments such as the judicial system might need to be out of the courthouse longer than other county departments because of the disruption of construction noise during court proceedings.

“If you agree this is the direction we want to go there are still a lot of things we need to decide,” Tjaden told her fellow board members.
Samuels said one possibility would be to ask bidders to include a cost difference between working on the courthouse while it is occupied or if they have unrestricted access, and that’s what the board indicated he should do.