ALAMOSA — Alamosa County commissioners hammered out a list of alternates for the judicial center’s bid sheet during a work session Wednesday afternoon. After almost 90 minutes of deliberation, a list of 18 alternates was narrowed down to six.
The finalized bid sheet will have roughly $1,627,775 in alternate features, such as changing restroom tile size and eliminating a monument sign. Other alternates were taken out of the sheet completely because officials believe they can get the state to pay for items like furniture.
However, unlike the bid for the jail expansion and remodel, these are deductive alternates. The county will choose what to cut instead of choosing what features to add. It’s possible one contractor may have a lower base bid, but when the deductive alternates are factored in then another option may save the county more money.
The backwards nature made choosing alternates confusing and difficult for commissioners. “We’re talking about slashing and cutting it when we haven’t gotten any figures back yet,” said Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen. “Why not let them bid them all as alternates and then we start whacking them?”
Larry Schreiner of Sage Constructors and Alamosa County Chief Financial Officer Brittney DeHerrera explained that doing it this way could save the county money.
“If we put four or five alternates into the base bid,” Schreiner said, “I feel that we get a better bid than if we bid the whole package and then take things out. There’s also the possibility that we won’t have to touch any of it.”
“Let’s say it comes in $3 million over like the jail,” DeHerrera added, “and then you cut the probation wing. You’re going to get a better estimate now than you are after it’s overbid and then you ask them to cut it.”
A hot button issue for the group was deciding on how to handle the roughly 18,000 square-foot probation wing. Costing an estimated $1,550,000, it is the largest of the alternates. The county has three options: keep the wing, construct just a shell of the wing, or cut probation altogether.
Along with the necessity of a probation department, Schreiner said that cutting it now and constructing it later wouldn’t be a good decision. “If we come in five or 10 years down the road and put a probation wing on,” said Schreiner, “you’re never going to perfectly match the colors. It’s always going to look like an addition. Roof metal will fade over a few years along with the stucco.”
Having the wing just be a shell saves $720,000 since there wouldn’t even be underground plumbing or electrical work. Alamosa County Administrator Gigi Dennis said that it’s unlikely the shell’s interior could be finished down the line for the same amount the county would save. Alamosa County Commissioner Michael Yohn added that they would have the same problems that they’re now facing with the jail remodel.
“You have to work around everything and all of your infrastructure’s not there,” said Yohn. “It all has to go in first before you have a shell.”
The commissioners decided to not make the shell an alternate and instead go for an all-or-nothing approach and list the entire wing as alternate.
In roughly two weeks Schriener will send out the bid form with an addendum for the deductive alternates.