Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 23, 2018

Board nabs Houghton firm for jail project

Aug 23, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


Midwest Construction Consultants is the chosen one.

Henry County supervisors on Tuesday awarded the construction/project manager responsibilities to the Houghton firm.

Three area/regional firms in addition to Midwest Construction submitted proposals to handle the work. The other firms were Jean C. Wiley & Sons Construction, of Mt. Pleasant, Estes Construction, Davenport, and Carl A. Nelson & Co., Burlington. Midwest made its proposal during the supervisors’ Aug. 15 meeting while the other three companies did the same on Aug. 17.

Following the Aug. 17 meeting, Marc Lindeen, supervisor chairman, said he personally hoped to make a decision by the end of the month.

With no meeting Thursday due to the Iowa State Association of Counties Fall School and just two meeting dates left this month, the board not only achieved Lindeen’s wishes but exceeded them on the timeline.

Midwest’s experience in jail construction and to a lesser extent, its cost, were the deciding factors, according to the board and Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee.

The Houghton-based firm submitted a base fee cost of $298,500 plus $7,200 per month for an on-site inspector present each day of construction and mileage costs of 59 cents per mile (Houghton is 15 miles from Mt. Pleasant). That adds up to a cost of $384,900 without mileage figured into the cost.

“I talked to a couple of contractors who had worked with all four and they were very complimentary of all four,” McNamee said. “Two of the firms, however, have not any or very little jail experience. Midwest and Estes have the most jail experience.

“It worries me to have a construction manager who hasn’t worked on jails,” McNamee continued. “To me, it all boils down to Midwest. I talked to several sheriffs and they had very high recommendations for Midwest. I think Midwest stands out highly among the four. To me, it is an easy decision.”

Ted Wiley, of Jean C. Wiley & Sons of Mt. Pleasant, said its fee would be 6 percent of the project, “or about 400,000.” The bond referendum for the new law center/jail complex had a price tag of $9.1 million. Neither Estes nor Carl A. Nelson gave firm price quotes.

Estes said its fee would be 3-5 percent of the project cost, adding that the fee depends on the cost of the project i.e. the smaller the project, the higher the fee. However, officials with the company did not define what constituted a small and a large project.

Carl A. Nelson said its pre-construction fee would be $35,000 and construction management fee would be 3.5 percent, although there are variables in that fee which prevented Nelson from giving the county a solid cost. In addition to the construction management fee, the firm listed hourly salary fees of between $64.80 and $130.00 per hour for other officials who may be asked to assist the construction manager such as a project engineer, superintendent, project executive, etc.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Greg Moeller, who made the motion, which was unanimously approved, to retain Midwest, said after reviewing all the proposals, his top two choices were Midwest and Estes. “Being that Midwest Construction deals almost exclusively with jails, I feel they would be the best. The way I had it figured, Estes was the highest costwise. Midwest also gave us the most firm cost projection.”

Lindeen said he thought the supervisors received proposals from four top-notch firms. “I don’t think we could go wrong with any of them, but I would choose Midwest Construction due to the scope of the project.”

Supervisor Gary See said experience was more important than cost for him. “Maybe this is not the time to pick out the low bidder, but Midwest appears to be the tops.”

Moeller also added that he felt it was very important to have a superintendent on-site during construction.

Next step in the process is to hire the project architect.

Supervisors meet again in regular session Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 9 a.m. in the Henry County Courthouse.

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