After rejecting bids on two building projects, the Ellis County Commission decided to make a major design change in one of the buildings.

Of six bids, the low bid for the new EMS/rural fire station came in at $3.95 million. The project's construction budget was $3.5 million. Total project cost is $3.8 million, allowing $100,000 for contingency expenses and $200,000 in architectural fees.

"You ask for what you want in a building and bid it," Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund said. "Then you find what the market costs are."

Commissioners rejected the bids for the EMS/rural fire station in December, then decided to replace a concrete structure with an all-metal building in a January meeting.

"A steel building will probably bring it down a lot, if you go to an all-metal building," Sund told commissioners in a meeting last month regarding the cost of a pre-manufactured metal building versus a concrete building.

"The initial goal was to bring it down to -- give or take -- $3.5 million, so that we have a little bit of play in the pricing," Sund said. "If we go to an all-metal building, it's probably going to bring it down six, seven hundred thousand extra."

Wichita-based Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture's cost estimate for an all-metal building is $3.24 million.

In May, voters approved a 0.5-percent county sales tax for renovation and expansion of the courthouse, jail and Law Enforcement Center and construction of a new EMS/rural fire building at 22nd Street and General Hays Road. Voters approved paying $14.3 million for the projects. The sales tax will sunset in five years or when the projects are paid off, whichever comes first.

Commissioners also rejected two bids for the remodeling project at 718 Main, the former Commerce Bank building and future site of the administrative building for the county. One bid was $944,000 and the other bid was $995,000. The county had budgeted $600,000 for the project, which is not part of the sales tax.

The county is working with Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture to send that project out for bids again.