County takes second look at high bids

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Curry County officials are suffering from sticker shock after reviewing construction bids for the Special Events Center project.

Curry County Manager Dick Smith told the county commissioners on Wednesday three of the bids — which comprise 60 percent of the cost of the project — more than double the cost of what was estimated by the project architect.

The bids in question were for concrete, masonry and steel work.

Smith said a review indicated the discrepancy between estimated costs and bids is not related to building materials.

“The bids are dramatically different than what was estimated,” Smith said. “So, we are running into significant problems.”

Smith said the high bids have resulted in delaying the completion date by a few weeks of the $6.8 million project on a parcel of land located on the west side of the Curry County Fairgrounds. But, once construction begins, construction of the 85,000-square-foot indoor arena is expected to take a year to complete.

Smith said the first step in rectifying the bid situation involves traveling to Albuquerque next week to meet with the project architect, Jim Lewis.

“The first step is to have our architect look at the bids and see if there is some confusion,” Smith said.

Smith said bids for seven other services either met or were under the budget for the project.

Curry County Commissioner Tim Ashley said he plans to recommend holding a pre-bid conference with subcontractors to go over the specifications of the project.
“This project is still a go,” Ashley said. “Higher than expected bids are pretty common.”

Other agenda items discussed at the meeting:
— Curry County Treasurer Rhonda Bookout reported her office is being remodeled. The treasurer’s office is receiving new carpet, partitions and desks.
— Curry County Road Superintendent Danny Davis informed the commissioners that half of County Road K had been covered with asphalt before last weekend’s winter storm hit.
— Curry County Commissioners approved 43 indigent claims totaling $86,193.