The Bourbon County Commission, project architects and construction teams discussed the new jail project’s budget Tuesday morning to clarify issues and answer questions about process made.
Initially, the county decided on the 74-bed jail costing $6.8 million, but as architects from the Goldberg Group Architects began creating designs for the building and looking at costs for materials, their estimated cost rose to 15 percent higher than that projected cost.
Kevin Rost of the Goldberg Group said part of the reasons for the higher estimates concerned the increase in square footage of the building, the fluctuating costs for materials such as steel and the high demand for contractors at the moment because of other projects being worked on around the area.
Rost said he has not participated in a project that came in at budget just as planned initially, since they begin with very conservative estimates while the designs are formed. He explained those estimates should come down as the plans are refined, more information is gathered and bids are eventually accepted.
“We’re just not to that point in the process yet,” Rost said, saying as they move further in the design process they will be able to share more information with the commission.
Commission chairman Barbara Albright said they have received numerous questions from the public asking about why the project is over budget and what their plans are to resolve the issue. Recently, the commission was able to give Goldberg Group and Universal Construction a plan including about $300,000 in cost savings through the road and bridge department and other areas.
Rost said they also will continue to look at ways to cut costs as the project continues, such as by encouraging the county to recycle the concrete removed from the selected site and selling the existing structure.
“We want to get the best value for the county that we can,” Rost said.
Each month, those involved in the project will meet with at least one commission member to keep them up to date on progress being made as they begin phase two of checking the site to make sure there is nothing underground that could prevent or damage the project. Geotechnicians will also be called in to test the soil.
“We just want to get it moving forward,” Rost said of the project. “I think we’ve got a good site.”