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County approves bids for new social services building

Stark County commissioners at a special meeting Wednesday approved 27 bid packages for a new social services building. The current offices at 664 12th St. W. no longer meet the agency's space needs, and the 40-year-old building is meeting the end...

Rod Cockeram, Scull Construction project manager, speaks to Stark County commissioners Wednesday at a special meeting to approve bids for a new social services building. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
Rod Cockeram, Scull Construction project manager, speaks to Stark County commissioners Wednesday at a special meeting to approve bids for a new social services building. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Stark County commissioners at a special meeting Wednesday approved 27 bid packages for a new social services building.

The current offices at 664 12th St. W. no longer meet the agency's space needs, and the 40-year-old building is meeting the end of its life expectancy.

The new facility will also have offices for North Dakota State University Extension and Sunrise Youth Bureau, both currently located at 1340 Villard St.

A site on Fairway Street near CHI St. Alexius Health Medical Center has been selected for the new building.

Funds are on hand for the roughly $550,000 purchase of the land.

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The land purchase is not complete, though, as the county is awaiting preparation of the deed, Tom Henning, Stark County state's attorney, explained.

Scull Construction was chosen by the commissioners for the project in October. The company completed an expansion of the Stark County Courthouse in 2018.

JLG Architects was chosen in August to design the new building.

The project will cost roughly $12.7 million.

Scull project manager Rod Cockeram lauded the success of the bid vetting process.

"The process we use, how we went through this, we were able to get all of your alternates included in the costs and still save $1 million on the project from our budget," he said.

Bids for the project were received on May 28, Jake Rieffenberger, Scull preconstruction manager, said.

"Rod and I sat down and reviewed every single bid package, starting with the apparent low," he said. "Our recommendation is based on our apparent low base bid."

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Two approved bid packages have a cost of more than $1 million each.

A bid for HVAC and plumbing services from City Air Mechanical was approved at $1.6 million, and a bid for electrical services from Magnum Electric was approved at $1 million.

City Air, based in Bismarck, with Dickinson offices, combined the plumbing and HVAC packages into a single bid, which is normal, Rieffenberger said.

"We have some contractors that do all in-house plumbing and HVAC," he said.

Cockeram said Scull has worked with City Air before and "had no issues."

"We went through quite the vetting process with them," he said, "because it is somewhat of a complicated system by adding controls in every single room, which means every single office has its own thermostat and controls."

He added, "They have the entire scope covered."

All bids received for two specific items were rejected.

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Masonry and exterior site signage were ordered to be rebid due to both being "significantly over budget."

The rejected bids will be readvertised, Rieffenberger said.

"We've also reached out to local contractors and other contractors to actually bid it," he said. "We're hoping to get a more competitive bid, which is why we go through the motions of sending that out to not only local, but it goes to Bismarck, to Minot, to South Dakota, really to all the planholders in the state and adjoining state."

The deadline for bids is June 28. The new bids will likely be considered at the commissioners' July 2 regular meeting.

Construction on the new building is expected to start later this summer, with the hope of the facility being in operation by fall 2020.

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