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Winchester firm has low bid for regional jail

By Joe Beck - jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A Winchester firm submitted a low base bid of $55.674 million for the RSW Regional Jail Thursday.

The bid appears to put Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. of Winchester in a solid position to be chosen officially as contractor for the project by the Regional Jail Authority. The authority's attorneys will be reviewing the Shockey bid before the next meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.

Anthony J. Bell, vice president and project manager of Richmond-based Moseley Architects announced the bids from six competing firms as they were opened. The second lowest base bid was $57.988 million submitted by W.M. Schlosser Co.of Hyattsville, Md.

The other bids ranged from $61.488 million to $58.980 million. The final cost could be more than $1 million less, depending on whether the jail authority chooses to pass up several items that were included in the base bid but any one of which could still be removed before formal acceptance of the bid.

For example, the jail authority could choose to delete upper bunk beds and steps planned for 216 cells or it could delete a canopy structure over outside exercise yards.

The jail will be located at a site on Winchester Road, U.S. 340/522 about 3 miles north of Interstate 66. Construction is expected to begin in June or July with completion in 2014. The jail will serve Warren, Rappahannock, and Shenandoah counties and have an initial capacity of 375 inmates.

The jail has drawn heavy criticism in Shenandoah County where the board adopted a resolution earlier this week agreeing to issue nearly $100 million worth of bonds and notes to support its financing.

Warren County officials said Thursday they are confident the project is still on track and Shenandoah County remains committed to financing its share of the project. The state is chipping in 45 to 50 percent of the construction costs

Warren County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley said he was "pleased" by the support given by the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and expects a similar outcome in Warren County.

Tony Carter, a member of the Board of Supervisors, said the regional jail has no opposition in Warren County, thanks in large part to Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron's support for the project.

"I think we'll be fine," Carter said of the board, adding that "our Sheriff has been a strong supporter of the project from day one, and that's made all the difference in the world."

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