January 27, 2016

Courthouse expansion bids get the nod from the commission

By Daniel Arens

Last year, the Mercer County Commission rejected combined bids for a proposed expansion of the county courthouse and jail. The bids came in considerably higher than the commission had anticipated and, after several meetings of deliberation, the commissioners determined to rebid the project in the winter.
Bids were opened earlier in January, and at the regular commission meeting Jan. 20 Pete Filippi, Contegrity Group Inc. (CGI), the architect for the project, gave his report on how the final bids turned out. The numbers came in lower than the commission had projected, even considering hopes that bidding the project in midwinter when contractors don’t have their work ready might produce more favorable numbers than the 2015 bids.
In total, the final complete bids for the project sit at $11,323,101.66, including taking into account inflation and fees. Slightly more than $1.42 million of this total has already been paid in the designing and planning the county has done over the last year.
The commission is also looking into a bond option of up to $3.8 million to help pay off remaining costs, although the smaller numbers in the bids mean the county will in fact only need about a $3.2 million bond to cover costs.
There are still some unknowns for the project, most notable the archeology fees. An estimate of $50,000 is included in the cost, as the commission will have to pay for an on-site archeologist for the project. If any artifacts are found, that could greatly increase time and cost for project completion.

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