County board to seek bids for proposed remodel project

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The county board is discussing a move for Health and Human Services to the Government Center and the resulting $3.8 million remodeling project, but the board isn’t ready to green light it.

The board unanimously agreed to seek architectural bids for the potential project and seek a bid from Knutson Construction, which worked on the Jail and Justice Center project, to be the construction manager.

After proposals, the full board and likely at least one city representative will interview the architects before one is approved. However, another board motion is likely before interviews begin.

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The board could still hit the brakes on the project if costs come in higher than expected.

“If it comes in too high, there’s no way in hell I’m going to proceed with it,” Commissioner Tony Bennett said.

The potential remodel would cost about $3.8 million, according to a Knutson Construction assessment completed in September. The board set aside $1 million for the project when it sold the old Health and Human Services building.

But construction figures are estimates.

The county could bond about $2.8 million.

The Health and Human Services offices will soon enter its eighth year at Oak Park Mall, a site that costs the county about $257,000 a year. The county has a 10-year lease at the mall. The first half was guaranteed, and the county goes year-by-year in the second half.