Contract awarded for Washington County Free Library project

December 14, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS |

HAGERSTOWN — The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday awarded a roughly $15.9 million contract to Dustin Construction, Inc. of Ijamsville, Md., for the renovation and expansion of the Washington County Free Library.

The company’s bid was the lowest of 12 submitted for the project, County Purchasing Agent Karen R. Luther said.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the contract award, with commissioners John F. Barr and Ruth Anne Callaham abstaining.

Barr’s company, Ellsworth Electric, is the electrical subcontractor under the low bidder’s proposal, and Callaham’s husband, Art Callaham, is president of the library’s board of trustees.

The project consists of a full renovation of the existing 46,233-square-foot, three-story library in downtown Hagerstown. The existing building will be demolished to expose the building structure and floor slabs, and new building additions will be constructed on the east, south and west portions for a total building area of 84,758 square feet, county Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said.

Construction will likely start around Jan. 15 and take about 20 months, Kroboth said.

The downtown library closed Nov. 9. Two smaller, temporary branches have opened at 59 W. Washington St. and 18739 North Pointe Drive. Other materials from the branch are in storage and are available upon request.

The total budget for the library project is about $23.8 million, with funding sources as follows:

  • State of Maryland, $11.3 million
  • Washington County, $7 million
  • Private contributions, $4 million
  • City of Hagerstown, $1.5 million
Because more than half of the construction funds are coming from the state, the contractor will have to pay prevailing wage rates, Kroboth said.

The county asked for bids with and without prevailing wages. The low bid for the construction was $1.2 million higher with prevailing wages, but to realize those savings, the county would have had to forfeit $3.5 million in state funding to get below the 50 percent threshold, Kroboth said. Thus, the cost to the county is lower using prevailing wages, he said.

The $15.9 million construction cost leaves about $3.7 million left over in the project as a contingency for unexpected costs, which Kroboth said could be high given the age of the existing building.

Brent A. Feight, president of Bushey Feight Morin Architects, who designed the new library, recommended approving Dustin Construction for the construction contract, describing the company as “highly regarded among building owners and architects alike.”

Dustin Construction’s current workload includes about seven projects ranging from less than $1 million to more than $48 million, Feight wrote. Its major projects completed over the past five years include a range of educational and public buildings, including some of comparable cost and scope to the library project, he wrote.

Dustin Construction Inc.’s base bid using prevailing wage rates was $15,947,000.

The other base bids for the project, using prevailing wage rates, were:
  • $15,950,000 — Costello Construction of Maryland, of Columbia, Md.
  • $16,230,000 — CFI Construction Corp. of Rockville, Md.
  • $16,509,000 — Brechbill & Helman Construction Co. of Chambersburg, Pa.
  • $16,700,000 — Waynesboro Construction of Frederick, Md.
  • $16,815,000 — Morgan-Keller Inc. of Frederick, Md.
  • $16,870,000 — Keller Brothers Inc. of Mt. Airy, Md.
  • $16,899,000 — CAM Construction Inc. of Timonium, Md.
  • $16,918,000 — Manekin Construction LLC of Columbia, Md.
  • $17,155,000 — Hess Construction of Gaithersburg, Md.
  • $17,358,428 — Warner Construction of Frederick, Md.
  • $19,680,000 — Mullan Contracting Co. of Lutherville, Md.

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