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Lewis office building bids come in around $9 million

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LOWVILLE — Construction bids on the proposed Lewis County office building project have come in at about $9 million.

“The bids came in a little higher than I hoped for,” Legislator Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, chairman of the legislative Buildings and Grounds Committee, said following Thursday’s opening. “But that was strictly hope.”

And the dollar figure “hasn’t discouraged me from saying, ‘Let’s build it,’” he said, noting that most of the office space being rented by the county is in buildings that are for sale.

Fellow committee member Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden, said he also would have liked to see the price tag for a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building on outer Stowe Street be a bit lower, but the main chore now will be to “see if we can find the sources to fund it other than the taxpayers.”

“Now that we’ve got a solid number, we can run the figures,” said Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

The bid opening was attended by about 60 people, including all legislators except Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, and a couple of legislative candidates.

The total base price came in at $8.84 million, while several add-ons — including high-density shelving, a lower maintenance flooring material, stamped concrete and parking lot improvements at the current Department of Social Services and Public Safety buildings — would push the total to $9.03 million.

Apparent low bidders were as follows: Bette & Cring Construction Group, Watertown, at $4,771,500 base or $4,836,500 with alternates for general construction; Burns Bros. Contracting, Potsdam, at $1,020,000 for mechanical and $357,000 for plumbing; Jordstat Construction, Alexandria Bay, at $977,138 for electrical; and Acts II Construction, Gouverneur, at $1,717,000 base or $1,836,000 with alternates for site work.

Seven companies submitted bids for general construction, while there were 10 bidders for mechanical, 11 for plumbing, seven for electrical and four for site work.

The project still is expected to come in lower than the original $11 million estimate.

County officials would expect to borrow $10 million for the project, including construction costs, a 10 percent contingency for any unforeseen costs and $150,000 for the clerk of the works, according to county Treasurer Patricia L. O’Brien.

The county also will have to cover the cost of moving or replacing a storage building that stands where the new building would go.

Over several years of working on project, the county already has spent about $800,000 on design fees and other preconstruction costs.

Right after the bid opening, county leaders worked with Rick W. Tague, president of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, to determine the percentage of the proposed building that would be reimbursable through state Department of Social Services funding so financial advisers could come up with an accurate financing schedule.

Although the county would cover all project costs up front, the state would reimburse a portion of that cost over the next 16 years for the nearly half of the building to be used by DSS. That initially was projected to provide $4.5 million to $5 million toward the project.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Monday to analyze project details more closely to help determine whether they are prepared to move forward, with a final decision likely to come at their Oct. 1 meeting.

County officials still must address some village concerns, including capacity of the sewage treatment system and safety of the village’s Stowe Street.

If legislators approve of the project, construction could start in mid-October and be completed by the end of October 2014.

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