Two low bidders vie for DSS building

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bids for the construction of Polk Countys new department of social services (DSS) building came in very close. The two lowest bidders were within $12,000 of each other.

But Polk County commissioners cant select a contractor yet because who is the low bidder depends on several factors that are yet to be determined.

The county asked contractors to provide two cost totals, one if the water pressure to the site is high enough that a pump and generator are not needed and another if the pump and generator are required.

If a pump and generator are needed, MV Momentum construction of Charlotte will be the low bidder, but if a pump and generator are not needed, Able Constructors of Greenville, S.C., will be the low bidder.

The county wont be able to determine if the water pressure is sufficient until a water line and fire hydrant are installed, which could take a few weeks.

Polk County opened bids last Thursday for the new building to be located off Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring.

The county received 11 bids that ranged from $1,815,000 to $1,665,000. The two lowest bids were from Momentum Construction, with a bid of $1,665,000, and Able Constructors, S.C., with a bid of $1,677,000.

Momentum will deduct $45,000 from its bid if the pump and generator is not needed, which will take Momentum’s bid to $1,620,000.

Able will deduct $58,245 from its bid if the water pressure is sufficient. That will take Able’s bid to $1,618,755, making it the low bidder, with a mere $1,245 separating the two.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said he never imagined that the bids would be this close.

The county has also decided to remove a screen wall that was originally specified around an outside mechanical area.

Momentum’s bid drops by $6,100 with the screen wall removed, and Able’s bid drops by $13,000, leaving Able still the low bidder.

The end result is that if the water pressure is sufficient and a pump is not needed, Able Constructors will be the low bidder and if a pump and generator are needed, the original low bidder, Momentum Construction, will win the bid.

Whitson says it should take about three weeks for the water line and fire hydrant to be installed. County engineer Dave Odom will then test to check the water pressure. Whitson says that means commissioners should be able to vote on the bids during the countys Oct. 4 meeting.

The water line and fire hydrant construction is part of the grading contract. That contract, which includes grading and the initial utilities, such as water and sewer lines and a fire hydrant, was awarded at $137,623.

Grading work began recently on the site.

The county will finance most of the project.