Bid for Sheriff’s Office, 911 center comes in at $8 million

WOODSTOCK – Construction company bids unsealed Wednesday afternoon show Shenandoah County’s future home for its Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Communications Center would cost roughly $8 million to build.

County officials and representatives of the architectural firm Grimm and Parker unsealed the bids submitted by companies interested in building the project. Plans call for the construction of a facility on county-owned land on North Main Street in the north end of Woodstock to house the Sheriff’s Office and the Emergency Communications Center. Grimm and Parker designed the project. Sheriff Timothy Carter intends to use money his department receives from the U.S. Justice Department through the asset forfeiture program to cover the cost to build his portion of the facility.

Lantz Construction of Winchester came out as the apparent low bidder with a total price of $8.04 million. Lantz Construction Company of Broadway proposed a total price of $8.48 million. Nielsen Builders of Harrisonburg offered to build the project for a total price of $9.03 million.

Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass thanked the bidding companies’ representatives in attendance at the opening. The county issued the request for proposals three years ago seeking architectural firms to design the project, Vass noted.

“We still have a long way to go, but I thank you for your effort,” Vass said.

Grimm and Parker partner James “Jim” Boyd and Patricia Jessee, an architect with the firm, attended the opening.

“I know everybody worked hard on this bid,” Boyd said. “You can tell that just because all the bidders are very engaged, asked a lot of really great questions. I’m disappointed for two of you, but I thank you for your hard work.”

Boyd, Carter and Vass appeared pleased with the bids. The low bid comes in below the most recent cost estimate of approximately $9 million, Boyd said.

“These were good bids,” Boyd said. “They were consistent with our expectations. In fact, it may be a little better than our expectations.

“They really wanted this,” Boyd added.

Specifically, companies provided their offers with bid amounts broken down into five categories that included the base cost for construction and for site work as well as unit pricing for any tasks that required digging, Boyd explained. The unit pricing allows for negotiating through unforeseen changes, Boyd added.

The architects and government officials plan to review Lantz Construction of Winchester’s bid to make sure it complies with certain criteria, Vass said after the opening. Officials then intend to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to award the contract, he added.

Parties could make modifications to the bid prior to the county signing a contract, Boyd said.

Supervisors could discuss the bid results at their meeting today. Should the board award the contract, the county would move to the next step – construction.

“Good to see three reputable companies out bidding on this project,” Vass said. “That’s good for Shenandoah County. It’s good for those companies.”

The county also embarked on a separate but related project to replace the entire public safety communications system, which is expected to cost more than $10 million. Supervisors expect to enter into an agreement with Motorola to replace the system, including computer equipment, portable radios and pagers, and additional radio towers. Carter described the project for which the county received bids Wednesday as “the box” that would house his office as well as the communications equipment.

County officials expect to borrow the money necessary to complete both projects, thus increasing the local government’s debt that usually results in tax increases to pay off the loans.