LOWVILLE — Despite rising material costs and supply chain delays, one construction project is approaching completion, and careful planning for new projects continues for Lewis County’s buildings.
Renovations to the Solid Waste Transfer Station are almost finished, and the two other multi-million-dollar construction projects planned for county buildings are coming to the end of the design phase — all three with about a month delay.
The project to construct a new tipping floor at the county transfer station at 7652 state Route 26 was anticipated to be completed by the end of October when the work began in July. County Manager Ryan Piche informed the board’s general services committee last week that most of the materials did not arrive until mid-October with the final steel arriving at the station about two weeks ago.
The subcontractor that is building the new structure, Hollis Construction, is expected to have the task completed by the end of the month.
They are also pouring asphalt for the lot, for which the main contractor on the project, Syracuse-based C&S Construction, requested an additional $13,000.
“Since we bid this job in February, asphalt prices have changed a lot. You’ll see what C&S has submitted (for the change order) has been benchmarked against state Department of Transportation pricing,” Mr. Piche said, referring to calculations provided for the committee. “It’s fair that the subcontractor they hired has faced an increase in asphalt bulk pricing... against the bid.”
An additional $39,700 was requested to cover the cost of the concrete needed to secure the base of walls that were made two feet taller in the last change order.
“When the board changed the approach to the building which made the wall go from 14 to 16 feet, (that) changed the specs from stone — which was okay at 14 feet — to concrete to support the 16-foot wall,” Mr. Piche said. “It was partly due to a miscalculation by C&S and partly due to changes the board wanted to make.”
C&S said the cost for the concrete is their cost without markup and the committee agreed that the change order should be approved because of the board’s part in the design change.
Although it was noted that the project is still less than the overall $1.75 million budget at about $1.34 million, this change order further erodes the remaining $315,000 included in the budget slated for building a new scale house and for the containers and equipment needed for the new tipping system.
Architect Patrick Currier of C&S Companies gave the committee an overview of the design work accomplished for the new highway garage complex and the Outer Stowe Street building that houses “human services” departments.
The current highway garage building will be adapted and renovated for use by the “outdoor departments” including Forestry, Parks and Recreation and Soil and Water with space set aside for the local USDA office as well.
The existing cold storage barn will be torn down by the county to save some expense so that a new 7,000-square-foot cold storage facility can be built in the same spot.
Mr. Currier said engineers are also considering repurposing the current welding shop as cold storage because turning it into a heated space would be “cost prohibitive.”
When the new project is complete, there will be three new buildings on the west side of the 7362 East Rd. facility and the new highway garage will total 21,000 square feet.
The current design adds about 2,400 square feet to the highway garage, 250 square feet to the vehicle wash building, 300 square feet to the maintenance shop and 200 square feet to the inside space of the outdoor services building since legislators last worked with the architects.
“Other than that it’s pretty much stayed on with what we were looking at,” Mr. Currier said.
The project cost was not discussed in the meeting; however, the county’s Capital Improvement Plan indicates a $14.25 million price tag.
A new floor plan for the DSS building, which will be completely gutted and rebuilt to house the “human services departments” including Social Services, Office for the Aging and Community Services, was also shared with the legislators.
“The whole concept of this is that (the) whole (interior) corridor will be open,” Mr. Currier said while pointing out the path circling around the center offices in the building, providing the public with access to each department from the one track with all other doors controlled by key cards.
Some new additions to the original building concept include a patio area with seating and a triangular gable above the main entrance to the building.
Both buildings are still in design phase and legislators were invited to participate in interior design conversations with the C&S inerior designer and department heads on Nov. 23.
“We’re making great progress on everything,” the engineer said. “We’re looking at an interior finish meeting on Nov. 23. We’re looking at having a 90 percent set of drawings and documents to the county on Dec. 8 and that set we’ll also send out... for an updated cost estimate. And we’re on track for bidding in January.”
Throughout this process, Mr. Currier said they have been keeping an eye on the continual increase in material costs.
“Prior to now I was hoping things would level off, but the price of everything is still continuing to go up,” Mr. Currier said. “It’s hard to say if it will level off or not. Six to eight months ago people thought it was going to, but no one has a crystal ball.”
He believes “true numbers” won’t be there until bids are open.
“Between now and then we just want to make sure the documents are clear and concise: that every ‘t’ is crossed, every ‘i’ is dotted (and) that all of the information they need to bid competitively is in it so that hopefully they can give us a real good solid number.”
The most recent estimate for the overall cost of the human services project of $20 million, up from the original $18.83 million estimated in June, was calculated on Oct. 22.
The designs for both buildings are expected to be complete in December with the call for bids going out in January.
On Thursday, the board approved KT Construction & Consulting’s bid of $511,320 to manage the capital improvement projects for the next two years beginning on Dec. 1.