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County starts talks on building price

POSTED: November 28, 2011 6:20 p.m.

County staffers are beginning negotiations with a contractor to attempt to whittle down the price of a proposed public safety facility on Goshen Road.

The lowest bid for the building came in at $1.66 million from Lavender Construction, about $300,000 over county estimates.

The building, at 9,614 square feet, will have living quarters to accommodate 24-hour fire department, EMS and sheriff’s office personnel. The lot, county project manager Adam Kobek explained, is narrow and also has a well on-site, limiting what could be done with a proposed building. It is also designed to last for at least 50 years.

When county staff performed the initial cost estimate in 2010, Kobek said, it was not based on a two-story building with living quarters and not based on it being an essential facility.

“When you have living quarters over an apparatus bay with exhaust fumes, fire suppression, flooring, all those things add to it exponentially,” he said.

The cost of utilities relocation, wiring for computers and impact fees, approximately $55,000 total, are not included in the low bidder’s price as those will be county-handled services, Kobek said.

“The building code requires the facility be considered as an essential facility, which increases the structural design criteria,” he said.

The county also asked for a brick façade so the building would fit in with the adjacent commercial buildings, such as the Walker Building, on Highway 21 and Goshen Road.

“There are minor things we could do,” Kobek said. “I don’t think we’re going to get the project in $1.35 million.”

Eleven companies responded to the request for qualifications and requests for proposals. Seven companies submitted bids but one firm was disqualified for failure to provide mandatory bid bond and another was disqualified for failure to attend mandatory pre-proposal meeting. The highest bid came in at $1.855 million.

Among the options for the county commissioners to consider were to enter into negotiations with Lavender, discuss alternative plan designs — such as not making a 50-plus-year design, eliminating bedrooms and not make it a 24-hour fire station — and stop the process altogether.

The fire station proposed for the Goshen Road public safety facility is scheduled to be operated by Rincon Fire Department.

“I think we need to put the 50-year-plus building back in there somewhere and we need to find the money somewhere to finish it,” Commissioner Reggie Loper said.

The county can put another $106,000 in impact fees toward the building, since it can be used as a south precinct for the sheriff’s office. Not including the sheriff’s office substation there also would eliminate the $106,000 in impact fees that could be directed toward the building.

Loper also asked how much it would cost to re-design the building, but having to do that may drive the price higher still.

“If you build the building, you’re going to add money and if you re-design, you’re probably going to add a little bit of money,” Kobek said.

The building will not lead to an increase in the amount of personnel. The EMS station near Rincon  Elementary School is slated to move to the Goshen Road public safety facility and no sheriff’s deputies will be added to man the substation there.

“From the sheriff’s standpoint, it serves as a substation, which should help save on fuel and trips back to Springfield,” said County Administrator David Crawley.

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