Purchase photos

Jail bids close to architect's estimates





Only one of the four bids received for most -- but not all -- of the remodeling of the Law Enforcement Center and the Ellis County Courthouse came in close to the architect's estimate.

The three remaining bids were slightly higher than expected.

But Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund continues to hold out hope there's enough money left in the pot to let Ellis County commissioners accept at least the first two alternates to the base bid.

Bids for the basic work ranges from a low of $5.514 million from Paul-Wertenberger, the only local contractor submitting a bid, up to $5.557 million from Overland Park-based MW Builders, which had the low bid once the two alternates are added in.

Those alternates include remodeling the first and second floor of the courthouse, along with the addition of a woman's bathroom on the third floor, and remodeling of the sheriff's office and enclosing the current long hallway leading to the sheriff's office and the addition of a video visitation center.

With the two alternates, bids range from $7.169 million from MW Builders to a high of $7.322 million from Paul-Wertenberger.

Wichita-based LAW Co. submitted a base bid of $5.518 million and a bid of $7.223 million with the two alternates.

Ottawa-based Loyd Builders bid $5.530 million for the base and $7.242 million with the two alternates.

Sund said Treanor architect Andrew Pitts, who received and is reviewing the bids, thinks Ellis County has approximately $7.1 million available for the project. Contingencies will put the total cost at about $8.5 million.

Pitts will meet with commissioners Sept. 2, and offer his advice on what to do with the bids offered.

Commissioners could accept or reject all or part of the bids that evening, Sund said.

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The cost of the project won't stop at $8.5 million.

That's because it doesn't include temporary housing costs during what will be an almost year-long construction project.

Sund said the county currently is negotiating with Heart of America for the use of the east half of the vacant NEW building.

"That's even more than we need," he said

There won't be a need for putting in phone or technology outlets, which could cost as much as $200 apiece.

He thinks approximately 80 people from the sheriff's office, police department and courts could be moving to the new facility temporarily.

While they're still working on setting a price, Sund said the cost at Hadley would have been approximately $200,000 and the Pathology Lab would have been approximately $6,000 a month.

"I think the NEW building is close to that," he said.

There's also going to be the cost of housing virtually all of the county's jail population.

In addition to the nearly $200,000 that might cost, there's also going to be expenses for housing virtually all of the county's inmates in outlying jails, as well as renting temporary holding cells for inmates scheduled to appear in court or those just going through the booking process.

Housing inmates elsewhere likely will cost in the neighborhood of $300,000. Temporary housing could cost $45,000 to lease a ready-to-use jail pod.

Sund thinks the half-cent sales tax will cover all the construction costs as well as the temporary housing costs.

Other offices in the courthouse shouldn't be making the temporary move, as Sund is planning on the construction at 718 Main -- the former Commerce Bank building -- to be completed in time to let personnel from the clerk, treasurer, register of deeds and his office move there instead.

Finishing that project also will let the county's zoning office move two blocks north, so construction can begin on 601 Main, giving more space to the health department and moving the Extension office into the back of the building.

The 718 Main and 601 Main projects are expected to cost $1 million to complete, while a combined rural fire-emergency medical services building will cost approximately $3.8 million.