Jail expansion delayed again

By Wayne Gates – 

The Brown County Commissioners can’t afford to pay for what construction companies want to charge for the Brown County Jail expansion.
By law, the Brown County Commissioners have a maximum of $3,300,000 to spend on the Brown County Jail expansion.
At a bid opening for the project on May 4, all of the bids exceeded four million dollars.
The lowest bid was from Venture One Construction of Cincinnati for $4,171,000. The next lowest bid was from Graybach LLC of Cincinnati for $4,331,210.
The second highest bid was from Endeavor Construction of Pleasant Plain, Ohio for $4,584,000. The highest bid was from WAI Construction Group of Piketon for $4,700,000. WAI was the original contractor for the project.
The commissioners terminated the contract with WAI in January before the project began because the company said that the costs would be $272,000 higher than expected and wanted to renegotiate the contract.
So what now for the project?
“We can either put the project out for bids again or look at removing something from the project that has caused the costs to go so high,” said Commissioner Barry Woodruff.
Commissioner Tony Applegate said that Project Architect David Stone would be contacting the bidders to see why the bids were all a million dollars or more over the cost estimate for the project.
“What we end up doing depends on what comes from the conversation with the bidders,” Applegate said,
If it’s just a matter of the bidders being unsure about some aspect of the project and coming in high to cover themselves, then it could be resolved rather quickly.”
If that’s not the case and the contractors come back with their bids as a firm price, Applegate said that the project will have to be re-examined.
“If they say that this is simply how much it will cost to build the building, we are going to have to go back and revise the scope of the project. That would delay the start of the construction process longer,” Applegate said. “If we have to take some things out of the project and rebid it, the delay could be sixty days to six months.”
Woodruff said that in his opinion, the project will likely end being scaled back.
“Our original plan was to build a forty man dormitory to expand the capacity of the jail. Then we began discussing security expansions, the sally port expansion and more administrative areas. That, in my opinion, drove up the cost significantly,” he said.
The commissioners hope to hear from Stone next week and will move forward from there, depending on what information they receive.