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County wants to see lower bids





The architect for a county remodeling project has recommendations for lowering the cost after the bids came in too high and were rejected.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture provided a list of possible cost reductions for the EMS/rural fire building totaling $465,800.

The six bids for construction of the EMS/rural fire building came in at more than the $3.5 million to $3.6 million budgeted. The low bid was $3.95 million.

"This is first blush of what (the architect) is recommending we look at," Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund said after Monday's meeting of the Ellis County Commission. "Doesn't mean it's a complete list. We could look at other things."

The bids for the remodeling project at 718 Main, site of the future administrative building for the county, also came in more than the $600,000 budgeted. One bid was $944,000, and the other bid was $995,000. They also were rejected by the commission. Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture also is the architect for the project.

"I expected it to hit budget," Sund said of the bids for the two projects.

Sund said he was at a loss to explain how the bids for the two projects came in so much higher than what was budgeted.

"I honestly don't know," he said. "Not being an architect or engineer, all we can do is say these are the components we would like to have in the building. They design them, do the quality. They do all the other things to it.

"I would have liked to seen something that says, 'By the way, you can have this, but this is potentially what it's going to cost.' I think that's what we need to get to this time. This list here that shows potential costs for everything that (the architect's) suggesting gives us a lot more meat that we can look at."

For the bid process this time, Sund wants the projected costs to be lower than what the county wants for each project. Commissioners will have a conference call with the architect Friday.

"Like I said to the architect, I would like to cut it well below the budget -- so that we can see if we bid it, we can add back in some alternates to come back up to budget, (then) we can do that," Sund said. "But I don't want to get in the situation we're in right now, again. This is embarrassing enough."