Council approves bid for swimming pool project
By Katie Zerr -
The Mobridge City Council on Monday, July 21, approved a bid for the construction of the new outdoor pool project, paving the way for the construction to begin.
Although the council approved the project, it does not come without concerns.
The company that won the bid, JDH Construction of Aberdeen, made a mistake in the city’s favor, submitting a lower bid than the company had intended.
According to Jay Koch of Helms and Associates of Aberdeen, who are the engineers and managers of the project, officials at JDH will honor the bid that was submitted.
He explained to the council that three competitive bids were submitted, although all three were higher than what was estimated a couple of years prior to the bids being let.
“Whatever we did to get the bids lower worked,” he told the council. “We would have liked to see them come in lower, but the bids are competitive.”
Of the three bids, JDH submitted a bid of $3,319,412. The other bids were from Scull Construction Service of Rapid City for $3,556,000 and the other from Sharpe Enterprises of Pierre for $3,477,048.
“I don’t feel that we will get these any lower,” said Ward II Councilwoman Amy Cerney, who is also a member of the Mobridge Outdoor Pool Committee. “We have the money in the fund to cover the construction. I looked at our pledges and we have $91,000 in pledges that will start coming in once the construction starts.”
Cerney said there is $130,000 coming in that is not accounted for in the $3,369,654 in the pool fund. She said the donation and pledges continue to come in. Mayor Jamie Dietterle said he is confident once the construction starts there are people who have been waiting to make donations and pledges who will take the step to donate.
Cerney said currently the pool committee has more than $38,000 in funds that will go towards paying down the community’s bond payment for the pool. The city has pledged $50,000 per year towards the $250,000 payment and the committee has pledge to continue with fundraising to lessen the community’s tax burden in the annual payment.
“The pool committee has been dedicated to this, the council has been dedicated and the community has been dedicated,” said Dietterle. “Thanks for going to work for us and fighting a good fight. Thanks to the committee and the community for their hard work. This is a good day.”
Ward II Councilman Gene Cox questioned whether there is anything the council can do to avoid “being change ordered to death” on the project.
Koch told the council there would be change orders (cost increases or decreases as the project proceeds) as that is the nature of construction. He told the council they could reject any change orders requested, as the specs on this project are pretty specific.
The completion date for the project is now May 15, 2016, and Koch said he expects it to be complete and ready to open by that time. He said the pool phase of the project should be completed by Aug. 2015. Built into the contract is a $14,500 penalty per day if the company fails to meet that deadline.
After the meeting on Monday, Cerney said she is pleased the council unanimously accepted the lowest bid, which will get the project started.
“Our city has worked for many years to build a new pool and it is exciting to see it finally become a reality,” she said. “I would like to thank the generous donations of time, treasure, and talent that have helped make this possible. This is yet another project that we will be able to take off our City’s Strategic Priorities list as we continue to grow our community.”
Mobridge City Administrator Steve Gasser and Ward I Councilman Tom O’Connell have been working on the project since 2007, visiting many pools and aquatic centers in the area. They also talked to other city officials in surrounding states concerning their experiences with pools, construction and maintenance of both indoor and outdoor pools.
“It is about time,” said Gasser on Tuesday. “We have been working on this, it seems like forever.”
Dan Richards of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks met with the council on Monday seeking approval of an amendment to the city’s lease with the GF&P concerning the rifle range.
Richards told the council the GF&P would like to take control of the range back from the city. That means the state agency would be responsible for maintenance and insurance on the new and improved range.
In recent years, through organizations like the Sagebrush Rifle and Pistol Club of Mobridge and the Friends of NRA, improvements have been made to the range. New structures to protect shooters have been built and recently a new .22 range, with structure has been constructed.
These improvements, according to Richards, has made the Mobridge range, one of the best free ranges in the state.
The city would continue to provide law enforcement on the area through the new agreement.
“We are dedicated to continuing the operation as is,” Richards told the council. “We would no more close it down than we do something at Indian Creek unless there was a safety issue. Then we would fix it and get back up and running as soon as possible.”
On Tuesday, Gasser said there wouldn’t be any big changes in the operation of the range under the GF&P and the amendment to the lease is best for both the city and the state agency.
– Katie Zerr –