Bids for county dispatch center come in high

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By Shane Farley
October 30, 2013 - 7:13:25 am

Bids to remodel the south annex of the Cowley County courthouse, for use as a consolidated 911 dispatch center, have come in a bit higher than expected.

County officials say that could mean some minor elements of the project may need to be cut, at least for now. All core features of the center will remain unchanged.

The county received five bids and all were from Sedgwick County contractors - four from Wichita and one from Kechi. Of the bids received, the lowest was just over $2.3 million - which is higher than the engineer’s estimate of $2 million the county received during the information-gathering portion of the project.

The county has issued just over $3.5 million in voter-approved bonds to fund the project to remodel the Winfield building which is just across the street from the courthouse. It was expected that $2 million would be spent on the remodel, leaving $1.5 million for dispatching equipment.

County administrator Jeremy Willmoth said Tuesday he would recommend that commissioners do their best to provide a dispatch center that served the long-term needs of the county. If that means spending more now on building costs and less on equipment, he would support that.

County commissioners will make the final decision on how the money is spent.

Willmoth also said the bids included 10 percent in contingency funding, so it is likely the base cost of the remodel would be closer to $2.1 million.

Commissioners must also consider whether to include some optional work in the remodel.

Commerce Construction, Compton Construction, Conco Construction, Icon Structures Inc., of Wichita and Walz, Harman and Huffman, of Kechi, were the companies that bid. Depending on who wins the bid, the work is expected to take six to 10 months to complete.

Each company’s bid included an estimate of roughly $500,000 for plumbing and mechanical work to be done by Winfield Plumbing and Heating.

The county took over dispatch services from the cities of Winfield and Ark City this summer. County employees are working at city facilities until the remodeling process is complete.

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