High bids force alterations to police station plans

kjahner@newsobserver.comJuly 11, 2014 

— With the low bid for building Garner’s new police station $220,000 over budget, the town engineer walked council through savings as well as a cost re-allocation Monday. The alterations would bring the project back to its target.

Calvin Davenport, Inc., won a bidding process with a bid of $3,778,000 to turn a former medical office building into a new town police station. The project’s budget of $4.5 million includes just $3,558,500 for construction.

Staff worked with the contractor late the previous week to find savings in order to preserve a $170,000 contingency, meant to protect against unforeseen overruns encountered during the project.

“The architect did a really good job of bringing back options,” town engineer Tony Chalk said,. “Definitely, we will find a way to (get this project done at budget).”

Most of about $185,000 in savings found would have minimal impact on police operations. For example, a slight shift in quality from an epoxy flooring to a vinyl composite tile would save $8,000, and was among the final cuts.

“It’s a good product. It might not last quite as long,” Chalk said of the tile.

Another $35,0000 was “saved” by moving money to build six parking spots near the library off the books of this project, instead funding it through unassigned capital reserves. The spaces, Town Manager Hardin Watkins pointed out, had nothing directly to do with the police station next door to the library; it just happened to be a county request as the town reconfigured the library parking lot as part of the police station project.

“Our other land acquisition costs came from the same pot of money,” Watkins said.

That shift of cost allocation resulted in a substantial discussion during Monday’s council meeting, with councilman Buck Kennedy hammering at the issue to flesh out exactly how that money was being “saved.” Ultimately initial confusion was resolved and the council accepted the plan.

“It’s not something we wanted to do but that’s what you have reserves for. It’s such a small part of the overall project costs,” Kennedy said. “They had a hard row to hoe before they got here (in finding savings to balance the overages).”

Switching from a natural gas to a diesel fuel backup power generator represented the biggest single item in the savings, netting the town $45,000. Soft costs including reductions spent on exercise equipment ($20,000), moving expenses ($10,000) and furniture services ($22,500) saved another $77,000.

Calvin Davenport offered $40,000 in savings through a revised demolition price and alterations to its subcontracting and supplier plans.

The parking spots required at the library will necessitate a larger bio-retention pond at the future Town Hall facility next to the library.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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