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McFarlane shower/safe room bids rejected

2013-1-22 16:32:32


WATERLOO, Iowa --- Plans for a new shower house and safe room at McFarlane Park are headed back to the drawing board.

Members of the Black Hawk County Conservation Board voted unanimously last week to reject all 11 bids received for the project in the park and camping area along the Cedar River east of La Porte City.

The construction bids ranged from $347,000 to $447,000, while the architects had estimated the cost at $320,550.

"Basically all the bids came in too high," said Cherrie Northrup, the board's planning administrator. "We were hoping to come in somewhere between $300,000 and $310,000."

Northrup said StruXture Architects had suggested working with the low bidder, Cardinal Construction of Waterloo, to remove some items from the project to bring it in line with the budget. That idea was nixed by Assistant County Attorney Dave Mason, who said it may not comply with public bidding regulations.

"I'm a little reluctant to advise the board to do that," said Mason, noting fairness would require all of the bidders to have a shot at providing a price for any changes in the plans.

Conservation Board members authorized staff to seek new bids on the revised project, which will replace the aging shower house at McFarlane Park with a new shower house. The new facility includes a safe room to protect campers should a tornado or storm roll through.

The total project budget, including design and management expenses, is about $380,000. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division awarded a $223,000 hazard mitigation grant for the project while the county Board of Supervisors agreed to raise the remaining $158,000 with general obligation bonds.

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