May 27, 2015

Commission moves to rebid county buildings expansion

By Daniel Arens

Major renovations and expansion projects can be both generally helpful and completely necessary, but they come with a cost – and someone has to pick up the tab.
The Mercer County courthouse and jail are seeking to expand in an attempt to create, among other things, more secure facilities and more jail space to house inmates. A proposed plan for the renovation, with an estimated cost of roughly $9.8 million, was narrowly approved by a public vote during the general primary last year. Pete Filippi, Contegrity Group, gathered bids from different companies for the various aspects of the expansion.
The Mercer County Commission reviewed the bidding plan for the renovation that was presented by Filippi Wednesday, May 20. The proposed plan for all of the accumulated bids totalled $11,030,005.97. Besides the increase in the total amount, several of the individual projects were not bid on; these spaces were filled with cost estimates. The actual bidding cost could, of course, be more or less than the projected bid amount.
The commissioners determined that the projected cost was too expensive as it stood, and that they would rebid the expansion project in November, when companies were likely to have fewer projects on their hands and a more competitive bidding process could occur. In the meantime, a committee will be put together to determine which areas within the project as it currently stands can be cut to bring costs down.

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