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ONLINE ONLY: County building committee rejects remodel bids, asks for plan from architect

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By Shannon Brock

Spencer County Fiscal Court's building committee Monday rejected all bids received thus far and decided to obtain plans for the Spencer County EMS headquarters remodel from an architect.
Monday marked the second time the committee had met to discuss the bids submitted for the project, but the committee voted to take no action at its first meeting until a building inspector could be present and certain questions were answered about the bids received.
County building inspector Steve Clark attended Monday's meeting. At the time of the first meeting, which was on Feb. 22, Clark had been terminated from his position by Judge-Executive Bill Karrer. However, a quorum of the Fiscal Court magistrates voted to reinstate Clark three days after the first committee meeting took place.
Bids received for the work and discussed at the February meeting ranged from $29,869, submitted by WPC Company Inc. of Louisville, to $79,808, submitted by Eagle Construction.
Eagle Construction also submitted an alternate bid, which would provide the same rooms requested, but in a different floor plan, for $66,858.
Because of the wide discrepancy in the low and high bids, the committee — made up of Magistrate David Goodlett, Magistrate Woodie Cheek, EMS Director Jeff Coulter, Building Superintendent Darrell Herndon and County Attorney Ruth Hollan — wanted to make sure the low bid complied with the building code requirements for the facility.
Coulter said he wanted three questions answered before he would recommend taking any action:
•Would it be OK or legal to go with the alternate bid even though it was based on a different floor plan or design?
•Would the WPC Company be able to meet all the requirements of the other bids at the low cost?
•Could a building inspector look at the WPC Company’s plans and verify that the work could be done at the low cost?
However, the committee opted to go a different direction Monday, which would most likely mean any future bids would be comparing "apples to apples."
Coulter told the committee members, who were all present, that since the last meeting, he contacted an architect to inquire about the cost to draw up plans that would meet all required building codes.
A representative of Keyes Architects and Associates of Louisville quoted Coulter a price of approximately $2,600, but said if the county had the original plans for the building, which is the former cooperative extension building, the cost could be dropped to around $2,000.
Coulter said the county has the original plans.
"This takes the guess work and the liability off the county," Coulter said.
Clark, the building inspector, told committee members he would recommend getting a plan drawn by an architect or engineer and referenced Kentucky Revised Statute 323.033(5), which says:
"Neither the state nor any of its political subdivisions shall engage in the construction of any public work involving the practice of architecture or engineering unless the plans, specifications, and estimates have been prepared and the administration of construction contracts executed under the direct supervision of a licensed architect or a professional engineer."
Coulter said the architect told him, "Use me, don't use me, but $2,000 is a cheap insurance policy."
The architect's plans would make sure the building met fire code and building code, Coulter said.
"I feel like all we've done for a year is run around in circles," Coulter said. "This takes all the circles out of it. This is a straight line to where we want to be."
Coulter said that the remodel has involved more than he thought and that he wanted anyone who bid on the project to be able to bid "apples to apples."
"I'll take my responsibility," Coulter said. "I didn't know that when we repurposed it that we were going to change all this. When we first started this, we thought we were putting up some drywall and some doors ...
I didn't know that when we repurpose a building that that completely changes the code, but I'll accept that."
Eagle Construction's Mike Woodford was at the meeting and suggested that if the committee chose his company, the county could have their plan checked by an architect.
However, on a motion by Cheek, seconded by Hollan, the committee voted to reject all bids thus far.
And, on a motion by Cheek, seconded by Herndon, the committee voted to enter into an agreement with Keyes Architects to provide plans for the EMS headquarters.
The representative from Keyes told Coulter that a plan could be completed in about five days, so committee members were hopeful to have a plan returned to the county by Monday's Fiscal Court meeting.
The project will be bid  out again once a plan is provided.