An ad hoc committee charged with overseeing just what to do with the historic Effingham County Courthouse has whittled down the list of prospective firms to do the work to five.
“We feel we have highly-qualified firms,” county project manager Adam Kobek said.
Making the cut were New South/Lord Aeck and Sargent; Garmutt Christman/McCall and Associates; Brunson Construction Company/Liollio Architects; Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung/JT Turner Construction; and Turner Construction/Hok.
“This is not the final stage,” Kobek said, adding the next step is to ask for a request for proposal from the five entries. Those RFPs will be due Jan. 9.
Nineteen firms submitted prequalification packages, and the cutoff score was 60. Over 115 firms requested the prequalification package, and assistant county attorney Eric Gotwalt had a lot of input into the criteria to determine the score, Kobek said.
“We’ve tried to make it as objective as possible,” Kobek said.
The prequalification form contained more than 130 questions.
“It took us five hours,” Commissioner Reggie Loper, who is also on the ad hoc committee, said of grading the forms.
The RFPs will delve into four areas — current building assessment, project approach, scope of services and price. The firms also will have interviews with the ad hoc committee. The final recommendation and selection is expected to be made in February.
“We want to hire one team for design/build services,” Kobek said.
By using one team, there will be one source for responsibility, Kobek said. With one team doing the design and building, Kobek added commissioners would know the maximum price of the project before construction begins.
But there are some disadvantages, Kobek noted.
“The owner becomes the sole watchdog,” he said. “It’s going to take more time from the county to make sure work is being done as tasked.”
The courthouse, on the National Register of Historic Places, would have to be upgraded and updated if was turned into additional county office space.