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Courthouse bids under budget, work to begin in May

Posted 4/12/16 (Tue)

By Jody Michael
Divide County commissioners Tuesday last week approved subcontracting bids and a guaranteed maximum price under the original estimate, for a courthouse addition and renovation project.
Construction will cost the county no more than $8.92 million, which is under the original $9.04 million estimate from Construction Engineers. The total project estimate, which includes soft costs such as fees, contingency rates and furnishings, is under budget by about $228,000 from its original $10.7 million.
“We’re pleased with the numbers,” said Project Manager Ben Matson. “They came in below what we had budgeted.”
Commissioners shared Matson’s delight at the price.
“Even though a few things were higher, the overall number is lower,” Commission Chairman Doug Graupe said.
Of 84 bids received, 24 subcontractors were awarded portions of the work.
Matson said he plans to offer paving work needed to the contractor of the city’s upcoming Main Street paving project.
The commissioners expressed some second thoughts about the size of the 21-car lot, which they feel might be too small.
“We’re adding a meeting room with room for 80 people, but we’re only increasing our parking by 10 cars on that side,” Commissioner Gerald Brady said.
Anthony Enright, the project’s lead designer from Klein McCarthy Architects, said he will look into expansion options.
Project schedule
Matson also shared an updated project schedule that lists an “early start” date for initial staking on May 12.
Selective demolition and excavation of certain exterior and interior walls will follow in the middle of May into June. Utility work will take place in July and August before the precast walls arrive.
“We’re going to be waiting on precast that isn’t coming until August,” Matson said. “The process just to get those walls designed is going to take eight weeks probably, minimum, and then they’ve got to build them.”
He said the roof should be installed in time for interior work to continue through the winter.
The “early finish” target for the addition is the end of June 2017. Landscaping would also be complete by this time, and Graupe said he hopes this will indeed be the case, with a citywide celebration being planned that year for the first weekend of August.
That event will recognize the 100th anniversary of the courthouse, and those of a few other buildings in Crosby.
The addition will house, among other things, the Veterans and Public Health departments, both of which have  moved out of the courthouse in recent years due to space constraints.
But they might not be able to move in as soon as the addition is complete: Renovation of existing areas in the courthouse will begin immediately afterward and will last about a month-and- a-half, displacing employees in some of the current offices during that time.
Enright said those displaced employees might have to temporarily occupy the new office spaces in the interim.
“Maybe you put them in the county health office and they don’t move in until after the renovation,” Enright said.
If the project stays on schedule, the final touch-ups in the existing part of the courthouse will finish on Aug. 21, 2017.