Pool project bids too high to accept
Shocked at the high bids received for the Mobridge Outdoor Pool Project Thursday, May 15, the members of the committee, city government, contractors and engineers have mobilized to bring the project costs back in line.
On Thursday, two contractors bid the project, with both of those bids coming in at more than $3.5 million. Both contractors, Sharpe Enterprises, Inc., of Pierre and JDH Construction of Aberdeen, would be using the same pool building company.
Pool committee members peppered Helm’s and Associate’s Jay Koch with questions about the reasoning behind the high bids. He told the group he thought the driving force was the time line (the completion date was June 1, 2015.) He said there are a number of large projects in the Midwest planned for this summer that have taken many of contractors who build pools, out of the running for this project.
He said without competition, there was no need for competitive bids on the construction of the pool. The bids for the pool were both more than $400,000 more than the engineer’s estimate and the bathhouse bids were both more than $250,000 above the engineer’s estimate.
Pool committee member Kent Mauck told Koch that a contractor could build a luxury home for the cost of per square foot of the bathhouse bids.
Koch said he would make some calls and work with the contractors to find out why the bids were so far from the estimated costs. He said his firm would work on the plans to see where there could be some cuts made to bring it in line with the estimates.
Neither of the bids was accepted until further research could be done. On Monday, May 19, members of the committee, and city officials met with representative from Sharpe Enterprises and Helm’s and Associates to go through the project and make decisions on what cuts can be made to bring the costs in line.
Mobridge City Administrator Steve Gasser said Tuesday that he felt, after that meeting, that project will move forward as planned.
“I feel much better about it than I did on Thursday,” he said. “We have been able to cut more than $400,000 from the cost and we are looking for more.”
Gasser said through what has been dubbed “value engineering” costs were cut by making some areas smaller, keeping the basic plan, but cutting back on the size of certain areas of the pool. He said Sharpe Enterprise is committed to the project and is working with other providers to find better prices on the play equipment, slides and other aspects of the plan.
Gasser said it is very important to the committee to keep their promises to the people of Mobridge.
“They have promised that we are going to have a pool started this year and they want to keep that promise,” he said. “We want to get it started in June.”
He said the group is working on many different avenues to bring the costs in line and he has confidence they can do what they set out to do.
“I was very concerned but after the Monday meeting, I have confidence that we will get this done and we will have a pool next year,” he said.
Gasser said they will continue to work on the project issues and will probably hold a special council meeting in the near future to accept a bid and move forward from that point.
– Katie Zerr –