The Delaware County Board of Supervisors will need additional funds after bids on the new county sheriff’s office and jail came in over $800,000 more than expected.
Supervisors awarded bids for the project at their Nov. 25 meeting, following the recommendation of building consultant, John Hansen, president of Midwest Construction Consultants.
Estimated to cost $5.9 million to build, the project now has a price tag of $6.7 million.
According to Hansen, the increase lies in two areas; earthwork at the site and a 20%–30% hike in material costs. Earthwork at the jail site is estimated at $350,000.
“I think these costs caught us all off guard,” Hansen told the supervisors. “Would we have rather it came in under budget? Yes, but we are in a position where we have seen these increases in economic costs.”
He told the supervisors jail projects in Davis County and Allamakee County both came in under $6 million, with both jails being similar in size to the Delaware County project.
Hansen told the board they had options moving forward. “One option is to reduce the building size, another option is to come up with additional funds for the project. Option three is to rebid the project.”
Hansen advised the supervisors not to rebid the jail project. “I’ve checked with the contractors. I think we have the lowest bids we are going to get.”
He also said reducing the size of the jail could end up costing the county more in the long run. “We tried to minimize the size of the jail in our design, but it does meet your needs for the future. By going in and trying to take away a part of the building, we would be minimizing that and the cost in the future to build it won’t be any less expensive.”
Supervisor Jeff Madlom said he was for looking for additional funds for the project, but did not want to exceed the $5.9 million amount. “We are not going back to the public and asking for more than the original amount,” he said.
Hansen told Madlom and the other supervisors the project will exceed the $5.9 million. “It will be over. We can’t get back down to it. If we have additional funds we can appropriate toward the project, then our recommendation would be to award the bids, then see what we can get down to control the project budget. That would be our recommendation.”
Madlom responded, “I don’t want anyone thinking we are way over and that it will cost them more money.”
Hansen also addressed downsizing the earthwork at the site. “We have a four-acre site and we are using approximately two acres. Instead of filling in that portion of the site, we could leave that part down and fill it over a period of time with fill from secondary roads bringing it up over time. That’s a definite option to bring down costs.”
Following the meeting, Madlom said the supervisors had to go forward with the project. “Do we continue to go forward even though it’s slightly above what we anticipated and hoped it would be, or do we scrap the project and start over? I think we have come so far and we are so close that we can control and finish this project at $5.9 million. Part of the costs can be eliminated with some redoing of dirt work.
"We also have some sources for other dollars. The cost of all construction has gone up and we will honor that. But the bond will remain at $5.9 million. We are confident we will be able to complete this.”
The county approved the bids, awarding the following contractors the project:
• General Construction — $3,349,000 to Woodruff Construction LLC, Waterloo
• Security Metal Doors, Frames, Hardware, Equipment and Security Electronics — $832,400 to Noah Detention, Niceville, Fla.
• Plumbing — $351,884 to Don and Walts LLC, Manchester.
• HVAC — $532,375 to Universal Climate Control, Coralville.
• Electrical — $667,050 to Community Electric, Waterloo.
• Fire Sprinkler System — $98,553 to Continental Fire Sprinkler, Davenport.