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Douglas County locks down jail bids of $12.9 million

This drawing gives an idea of what the outside of the new Douglas County Jail will look like. The jail will be located at the current site of the Douglas County Public Works office. At a special board meeting Tuesday, county commissioners voted 4-1 to sell bonds in the amount of $12.9 million to pay for the jail project. This amount is a savings of nearly $3 million from the projected cost of $15.76 million. The board awarded contracts to the low bidders in 28 of the 29 work categories, reserving a decis...

ALEXANDRIA - After a lengthy discussion at a special board meeting Tuesday, the Douglas County jail project is moving forward.

Douglas County commissioners voted 4-1 to sell bonds in the amount of $12.9 million (plus the cost to issue the bonds) - a savings of nearly $3 million from the projected $15.76 million cost for the jail.

The estimated $12.9 million price tag includes three alternate bids, along with previous expenditures in the amount of $235,757 and the purchase and development of the parking lot at 6th Avenue and Elm Street for $155,960.

The board awarded contracts to the low bidders in 28 of the 29 work categories, reserving a decision on the temperature controls contract until a later date.

Bev Bales, chair of the Douglas County Board, who cast the lone dissenting vote, shared her thoughts with the rest of the commissioners before the bids were accepted and approved.

She told the board she still has a lot of issues with the project and that she feels the real reason for the sunsetting of the jail in the first place is because of jail maintenance issues.

Bales believes - and told the other commissioners - there were some maintenance projects that weren't completed, although the board was told they were.

"This disturbs me," she said.

After the meeting, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen told the newspaper that the maintenance issues mentioned by Bales at the meeting were taken care of.

Bales also said there were other options available to the board - such as the downtown site or green sites - but the board was turned down by law enforcement officials or the board turned down other options.

For instance, Bales said the board rejected one of the green sites because of landfill and wetland issues.

She noted that there was an objection to keeping the jail downtown because of parking issues.

"The sheriff wanted it on a main highway and I still don't understand that," said Bales.

She noted that it appeared the last resort was the current option, which is to build at the site of the current Public Works Department and move that department to a new location.

"Thank God they were such a great department to work with," Bales said of Douglas County Public Works.

Bales wanted the county to go to a 72-hour hold facility and not have a full-fledged county jail.

"But that was pushed to the side, too," she stated.

Bales concluded by saying she couldn't proceed with the jail project as planned.

Commissioner Paul Anderson spoke up and told Bales, "We were blindsided by your comments."

Bales responded by saying that Anderson had his time to share his opinions at a previous meeting and that, "I wanted to give mine. It's nothing but fair."

Bids accepted and approved

The temperature controls contract was not awarded at this time, but is expected to be awarded at next Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting.

Representatives from Johnson Controls, Inc., who had the second lowest bid, made a plea to the board as to why it should be awarded the bid contract instead of the lowest bidding contractor, G&R Controls.

The difference between the bids was $2,116.

The board decided to give G&R and Johnson the opportunity to present information at next Tuesday's meeting.

The board requested that the mechanical engineer who wrote the specifications to be at the meeting as well.

According to Douglas County Attorney Chris Karpan, the county has to award the contract to the "lowest responsible bidder." If the commissioners believe that the low bidder isn't responsible or able to do the work, the board can legally go with a different bidder, he said in an e-mail to the newspaper Wednesday afternoon.

"This is a limited right," Karpan said of giving the bid to someone other than the lowest bidder. "As a general rule, the lowest bidder is going to get the contract."

Before commissioners voted to accept the bids and approve the sale of bonds, Larry Filippi of the construction-management firm Contegrity Group, Inc., discussed each of the five construction alternates with the board, three of which were approved.

The roofing alternate approved includes using a different and better type of roofing material, and a concrete alternate includes using different and less expensive exterior materials.

Here is a look at each of the 28 bid categories, including who was awarded the contract and the estimated cost.

•Building demolition: Eagle Construction Company, Inc. - $72,000.

•Earthwork/utilities: Tradesmen Construction, Inc. - $164,700.

•Concrete: Innovative Builders of Alexandria - $218,400.

•Precast concrete: MnDak Concrete, Inc. - $1.4 million (the board also accepted an alternate specification in this category, which will give the county a credit of $169,938).

•Masonry: Johnson Nelson Masonry - $557,200.

•Steel supply: Twin City Wire MFI, Inc. - $109,759.

•Steel erection: Innovative Erectors, Inc. - $49,850.

•Carpentry: Alliance Building Corporation - $75,561.

•Casework: Alliance Building Corporation - $73,149.

•Roofing: Buttweilers Do All, Inc. - $221,740 (the board accepted two alternates, which will add an additional $269,520).

•Joint sealants: A.J. Spanjers Company, Inc. - $114,675.

•Standard doors, frames and hardware: Central Door & Hardware, Inc. - $85,061.

•Aluminum windows, skylights and glazing: Heartland Glass Company, Inc. - $232,500.

•Overhead doors: Garage Door Store - $9,950.

•Gypsum board: Regal Contractors, Inc. - $157,325.

•Tile: McArthur Tile Company - $47,500.

•Acoustical treatments: St. Cloud Acoustical - $58,900.

•Flooring: MCI, Inc. - $83,521.

•Painting: M & J Painting - $83,400.

•Specialties: Bartley Sales Company, Inc. - $48,465.

•Steel Cell: Steel Cell of America - $1,694,424.

•Detention equipment: Pauly Jail Building Company - $1,360,000.

•Fire protection: Simplex Grinnell, LP - $122,216.

•Mechanical/plumbing: Minnetonka Plumbing - $1,122,500.

•HVAC: Thelen Heating and Roofing, Inc. - $607,800.

•Testing/adjusting and balancing: Design Control, Inc. - $34,210.

•Electrical: A & H Electric, Inc. - $1,020,000.

•Communications: Avon Electric Services, Inc. - $49,800.