During their meeting Tuesday, the Bourbon County Commission received an update on the bids and budget for the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center from the construction and architecture teams.
Steve Smith of Universal Construction Company, Inc., said the larger portions of the structure have been put to bid and it is important for the commission to agree to the estimated total construction cost so they could move forward in finalizing those bids before the contractors move on to other projects. With just concrete, masonry, drywall and a few other smaller construction items remaining to go to bid, Smith said the total construction cost will be about $6 million.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle to get bidders of late,” Smith said, saying there are billions of dollars worth of projects being worked on in the Midwest that are keeping contractors busy and away from the local project. “Construction costs are continuing to rise.”
Kevin Rost of Goldberg Group Architects pointed out that in just the past year of delays, due to the difficulty in finding property and having to complete land surveys, the cost of construction has gone up about 17.4 percent because of the rise in material prices and the trouble of finding contractors.
The commissioners agreed to a guaranteed maximum price of $6.25 million for the construction costs, with the price of land acquisition and architect fees alone bringing that total to the initial goal of $6.85 million. The remaining cost of about $1.7 million will be reached through lease purchasing items such as the cells and some electrical work, not costing taxpayers any more than was promised at the beginning of the bond project.
“It is disappointing,” commission chairperson Barbara Albright said of the unexpected rise in expenses, despite their efforts to decrease costs. “It’s more than we anticipated.”
Already, changes had been made to the plans to decrease the square footage and cut out other features the commission decided they could do without, but Albright pointed out that they still have to make sure the facility is functional.
“We’ve been committed since day one to make this project happen for you,” Rost said, saying they hope to have the remaining bids in place in the next few weeks, allowing work to begin before winter weather arrives. “We’re trying to stretch the dollars as much as we can.”
Once construction does begin, the project will likely take just over a year. Already, the building on the property has been removed so just a concrete slab and some debris such as bricks remain.