Saluda approves $390k city hall bid

Published 10:30 pm Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saluda City Hall’s historic facade following exterior renovations completed last years. (photo submitted)

Saluda City Hall’s historic facade following exterior renovations completed last years. (photo submitted)

The City of Saluda should soon see the interiors of its city hall and police department transforming as council approved a $390,876 bid from Dunlap Construction.

City commissioners met Monday, Dec. 9 and unanimously approved the low bid out of three total bids.

The interior renovations will include projects done in phases. Phase one includes city hall renovations, including electrical work. Phase two will be the renovation of the police department and its electrical with other phases being new city hall and police HVAC.

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Dunlap’s bid was just under Don Mintz Construction, which bid $397,600. The other bid came from Cooper Construction at $409,400.

Commissioners had some discussion regarding the bids, including that the original estimate for the project from the architect that the total renovation would cost more than $2 million.

Commissioners discussed whether or not it is required to accept the low bidder.

Saluda attorney Bailey Nager said there has to be a good reason not to accept the low bidder, including if the city has some experience with that contractor or knows of incidences where they haven’t been on time or other problems with their work. Those problems would have to be documented problems, Nager said.

“The law is very clear that local is not a reason to favor one contractor over another,” said Nager.

Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden said all of the contractors who bid the project are reputable builders. He said Dunlap recently did the renovation at a local church.

Dunlap Construction is out of Hendersonville, with commissioners saying they are bonded for the project.

Renovations to the exterior of the historic 1920s building were completed last year and included a new roof, redoing the brick, new doors and windows.

Plans for the interior include switching the city hall and the police department to provide more space and new interior openings between the two buildings to provide more safety.

Currently, in an emergency situation, police officers would have to exit to the sidewalk and enter the front door of city hall in order to gain access.

One of the major renovations will be new heating and air conditioning to replace the current system, which includes a window air conditioning unit.

Renovations also will be made to the upstairs of the building.

Dunlap bid the city hall renovation for $168,692; the police department for $186,194; HVAC in city hall for $22,330 and HVAC in the police department for $13,660, according to the bid sheet.

Subcontractors will include Nicholson Heating for the HVAC, Hoots Plumbing and Gibbs Electric.

City administrator Erny Williams said he expects the project to begin within four months. Since the city is financing, the N.C. Local Government Commission (LGC) will first have to approve the project.