The Edgar County Board’s building and grounds committee met with multiple design and construction representatives on Nov. 7 to discuss the most recent changes to plans for a new jail.
“The good news, although it is not as low as we would hope, is that the project is still on track to be inside of the approved budget,” Levi Bauer, a representative for CORE explained. Bauer joined Caleb Wyess of CORE and Michael Fries of Klingner Engineering in presenting more than 80 pages showcasing a breakdown of the projected costs and design features to board members.
“The current plan includes a sally-port, an extra exercise yard and all of the scope that we would want it to include, at an $18 million price point,” Fries said. “Our thought is, let’s save money now, so we can start building now.”
When the project began the original architects and engineers estimated construction for the new jail would total $14 million. A spike in cost from an increase in construction material and labor costs has forced the budget to increase to $18 million.
The county sold bonds to Prospect Bank for $10 million, and a Rural Development loan application for $4 million with a locked interest rate of 3% was filled.
“We will continue doing some brainstorming on alternates and some things we could do to offset the cost and still provide everything that is needed,” Bauer said. “What we really need is just to confirm these plans and get direction from the board, so we can complete the design and keep moving forward.”
Board member Jeff Voight posed several questions to Bauer, Fries and Wyss to ensure the proposed jail plans included items that were both cost-effective and would serve the needs of the jail.
“If we were to give you the go-ahead and move forward, would we have meetings to discuss alternates that could be changed or taken out?” Voight questioned. “It really does not sound like there are any big alternatives we could work with or change.”
The conflict between conserving money and creating a facility encompassing the varying needs of the jail is a point of contention between several board members.
“The MEP engineers, I think, have done a very good job of specifying what is necessary to run the building
and provide a quality system without giving you a Cadillac version of things,“ said Fries. “There will still be room for an addition in the future with this current plan.”
Representatives from CORE and Klingner Engineering believe bidding packages for the various construction, electri- cal and plumbing jobs needed could be ready by January if they receive approval from county board members.
“Currently we are showing drawings being done around Jan. 19 and will allow 20 business days to take bids before giving the county the official number,” said Fries “I do not want to keep marching on with design until I know where we are at with the budget, and if we can proceed with the plan we have shown here today. I want to be responsible with other people’s money.”
“We have not been completely pencils down over here either, we have been doing a lot of cross-coordina- tion behind the scenes,” Fries explained. “We are still in a position where we can have the complete package from us available within the proposed time frame, assuming that in the near future we are told by Edgar County to go ahead and push on to a 100% construction drawing.
“At some point in time, a decision is going to have to be made. If you all are comfort- able with the budget, as presented today, and are ready for us to move on and finalize the design, the sooner we know that the better,” Fries said.
A deadline for the decision was not confirmed during the meeting.
“We will have to take it to the board and make sure ev- eryone has a chance to have their say,” Voight said.