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Supervisors accept bid for Secondary Roads Facility

BY CARTER CRANBERG | JANUARY 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Johnson County Board of Supervisors decided to bite the bullet at Thursday’s meeting on a decision they’ve been discussing for nearly a year.

After hearing the cost of six bids to replace the secondary-roads facility, the supervisors settled on the lowest offer of $3.9 million, roughly $.2 million higher than the original estimate. 

The secondary-roads building was damaged in a fire in March 2013.

The supervisors agreed that the need for a new facility outweighed the strain it would put on the budget, Supervisor Janelle Rettig said.

Supervisor Rod Sullivan moved to accept the lowest bid, and the motion was passed 5-0, awarding the contract to Point Builders of Cedar Rapids.

The new building plan will focus on fixing flaws that were present in its predecessor. It will include adequate room for equipment storage and energy efficiency, which should help to offset the price.

Officials said centralizing the vehicle fleet, as well as the resources needed for maintenance, are important aspects of the reconstruction.

Rettig said there is a billion dollars of construction taking place in Johnson County, such as Hancher Auditorium, that use a great number of workers. In addition, six cranes are active around Iowa City, all of which make new projects quite costly.

Retting noted that despite the shortage of labor, the project could no longer be delayed.

“This is just one of those emergencies that happens, and we might have to reshuffle our cards …” she said. “We’re going to use this opportunity to better design the building and improve setup, but this is going to come at a steep cost for us.”

The building design intends to be better equipped and prepared for road maintenance, which will be a relief to the community when facing poor road conditions.

Allan Varney, the vice president of Ament Design in Cedar Rapids and an architecture consultant to the supervisors, plans to set the contracts in motion as soon as possible.

The supervisors reviewed and discussed potential methods through which they may get price reductions for the project.

Varney strongly advocated hiring a construction manager who would be able to oversee the process and find areas in which money could be saved.

“A construction manager, when overseeing the project, will help make decisions on your behalf that will come out to cost less of what they normally would be,” Varney said.

Concern was also raised over the high demand for labor in Johnson County.

Sullivan supported Rettig in highlighting that because of the great demand on local construction, the county would be unlikely to find a lower bid in the next five years. He noted that it would be unwise to stall the building any more than it had been.

“There’s no reason to think the contractors wouldn't be able to ask for a little bit more,” he said. “I don’t see this as much of a problem.”


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