County officials mull over details of jail construction, road, drainage issues

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Vernon County Commission and Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman held a phone conference with representatives of JE Dunn, the construction company charged with the task of building the new Vernon County jail. Representatives of Goldberg, Sullivan and McCrerey, the county's construction managers for the project, also took part in the discussion of two major topics.

The first topic was the construction of a 60-by-100-foot metal building which will neighbor and provide storage for the new jail and sheriff's offices. The second topic was the construction and layout of roads and drainage on the property.

Three options were given to the commission regarding the storage building; JE Dunn could include this building in with the jail plans and construct it, JE Dunn could put together the designs but then allow the county to build it, or the county could design and build the whole package.

If JE Dunn were to design and construct the storage building it would have an engineers seal and a warranty. However, the cost of this service would be in the neighborhood of $300,000.

The price of the building would only come down some by utilizing local builders through the county if Dunn were to design the structure. The same engineer's seals and warranties would still be paid for in the design.

However, if the county bids out the entire project, the estimated cost is only around $150,000, using local designers and builders.

After several back-and-forth discussions, the county along with JE Dunn representatives decided that bidding the package locally through the county would be best. Dan Ferguson of JE Dunn said "We're going to look for Larry's office (the construction managers) to go ahead and finish putting together a bid package, a complete bid package planned in specs for the metal building independent of the jail and sheriff's offices and we will try to get that bid just as soon as their available."

Neal Gerster Vernon County Northern Commissioner responded by saying, "I just want to get this metal building under way as quick as we can, because its something we've talked about long enough."

Following this brief debate the meeting moved on to when the projects should move forward. JE Dunn is waiting on certain specifications and drawings, before beginning the main buildings; neverthless, it was recommended to the commission that they get the storage building's foundation started as soon as possible. "Having that metal building up in advance of the jail and sheriff's offices will provide the project an area for storage during the course of construction, and I think that's a big advantage," said Ferguson.

It also was believed waiting might be the best approach in terms of starting work on the mail structure of the jail.

Ferguson said, "We think there are more pros to actually getting the drawings finished completely and getting them out to bid as soon as possible, but then starting the work in early spring. As opposed to trying to rush the drawings out to try and get them started in the middle of winter, when we believe you'll occur more cost with lower productivity. We can have greater productivity by waiting. We're still talking about, at this point in time having the project complete by Thanksgiving of next year as we originally discussed, so we're not talking about the project being extended."

With the major decisions for the jail being made, Cliff Goldberg of Goldberg, Sullivan and McCrerey brought up some smaller issues.

The first of these issues being the official jail address. Originally to be 2000 E. Hunter, the commission and Peckman decided to push it to 2040 E. Hunter, to take into account the possibility that other buildings could be constructed west of the property in the future. If a new structure were to go up west of the jail, no addresses would be available if the address for the jail were numbered 2000.

The meeting ended with a discussion regarding the roads and drainage on the property. It was originally decided that JE Dunn would construct the roads and drainage; however, it was later noted that certain drainage issues could cause problems.

"When we did the pricing on the road we had not identified that there was potentially a drainage issue. We obviously at that time just priced a road with base and surfacing. We had some lighting; we had some curb and gutters. This obviously could potentially raise the costs," said Ferguson.

After looking over their options the commission decided to put Ron Sloan, Vernon County's Road and Bridge supervisor in touch with Goldberg to coordinate a plan of action regarding the possible drainage issues.

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