By Bob Steenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction of a new Floyd County law enforcement center including a jail is not likely to begin until about a year from now, and could be completed in the fall of 2020.
The county Board of Supervisors at a planning meeting Monday morning looked at a proposed project schedule drafted by the architect and planning firm Prochaska & Associates, of Omaha, Nebraska.
Prochaska has not officially been selected as the project architect, although that appears to be the direction the county board will go.
Supervisor Chairwoman Linda Tjaden has said she would like to stick with Prochaska, because that company has helped guide the county through the process to pick a preliminary design and pass a bond referendum.
Assistant County Attorney Randall Tilton told the supervisors Monday that Iowa law does not require public bodies to seek bids for architects on projects, and the board members can make the selection.
The other two supervisors, Doug Kamm and Mark Kuhns, did not raise any objections to staying with Prochaska, although Kamm said it is still possible to negotiate the contract price.
A sample contract Prochaska submitted for architectural design services calls for a payment of 10 percent of the hard costs of the construction project. Based on preliminary project hard cost estimates of about $11 million, Prochaska’s fee would be about $1.1 million.
County Auditor Gloria Carr said she had been checking with other counties that had done major construction projects and found architects fees ranged from about 6 percent to 12 percent of costs.
The supervisors talked by phone with Curt Field, architect and project manager with Prochaska, who led them through the possible timeline. Major points included:
- Developing a schematic design, working with county department heads — now through the middle of August.
- Selecting a construction manager — mid-August through October.
- Preparation of construction documents — mid-December this year through April 2019.
- Bidding construction project — April-May, 2019.
- Construction — May 2019 through October 2020.
Field said some final parts of the construction could take a few months longer, because the Sheriff’s Office and jail will need to move into the new law enforcement center before remodeling can begin on the top floor of the courthouse where those offices are now.
After finishing the conference call, Tjaden said the next step is to have the County Attorney’s Office look over the contract proposed by Prochaska.
The supervisors also discussed with Assistant County Attorney Tilton the process of acquiring two residential properties that will be needed for the law enforcement center’s space.
Tilton said the county must proceed with good-faith negotiations for purchase of the properties, but to keep in mind that the end of the process could result in condemnation proceedings through the county’s eminent domain powers.
Tilton said the first step is to have the properties professionally appraised. The county’s initial offer will need to be at least as much as the appraisal, but could be more.
It’s common in such situations, Tilton said, to include additional money for relocation costs or other expenses the property owners will have. He suggested that supervisors might want to discuss actual negotiation strategy at a closed meeting.
Iowa open meetings law allows a closed meeting to discuss purchase of real estate where premature disclosure could increase the price.