Blue Ridge, Ga. – For now construction on the new emergency center / fire station located off of Windy Ridge Road in Blue Ridge will come to a halt. Plans to finish the current construction and move emergency personnel in will continue but a portion of the building that was not deemed to be finished in the current phase will remain undone for the time being.
At the Oct. 9 Fannin County Board of Commissioners meeting unexpected high bids were received for the completion of the project.
Fannin County Emergency Management Director Robert Graham explained that the completion of this particular area of the facility was not necessary for the building itself to be a functional space for emergency management staff.
The main purpose of the incomplete area will be for training and living quarters.
Graham reached out to 25 contractors in hopes of finding a winning bidder to complete the project. Local contractors were included in this list of 25, but no local companies opted to bid.
Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss opened two sealed bids at the meeting.
The first bid came from Engineered Structures, Inc. of Kennesaw, Ga. in the amount of $486,460, and the second bid came from JM Williams Contractors of Marietta, Ga. in the amount of $439,927.
Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson was first to express his opinion after a lengthy silence from all the commissioners: “I think it’s way too much money.”
“I feel like that’s really high,” Graham said agreeing with Johnson and adding, “I don’t know what happened between now and last year. That’s almost double what we started out at.”
Graham said this referring to a quote that was given previously for the completion of the area that was substantially less than either of the two new bids.
County Chairman Stan Helton, agreeing with opinions expressed by Johnson and Graham, questioned Graham if any issues, either from safety or structure, would arise by not completing this particular section at the present time.
Graham responded that there would be a need to heat the space in cold temperatures due to the sprinkler system in that area already being live and functioning.
Johnson clarified that the sprinkler system was a wet system: “The lines on a wet system are charged with water at all times and in a dry system they are only charged once needed.”
Graham suggested heating the area with a propane heater, possibly a hanging heater, and that there would be no safety issues in doing so as long as the heater had proper ventilation.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get a more favorable bid on this,” Helton concluded.
Johnson motioned,” I make the motion that we deny both bids due to the extreme cost.”
This motion passed unanimously.
With the area partially complete, Johnson made a last suggestion of looking into the cost of piecemealing the project out to specialized contractors in hopes cutting costs and also encouraging local businesses to bid on the process.
Specific areas mentioned that would need completion include sheetrock, flooring, heating and air, plumbing and electrical.
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