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Senior center to be built at HCC to be redesigned without second floor

Washington County Commissioners OK redesign to bring project cost closer to amount budgeted

May 01, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • This is an artist's rendering of the new senior center to be built on the Hagerstown Community College campus. County government will build a senior activities center at a proposed site on the Hagerstown Community College campus, but will have it redesigned without a second floor to reduce the cost, the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday.
Herald-Mail file photo

County government will build a senior activities center at a proposed site on the Hagerstown Community College campus, but will have it redesigned without a second floor to reduce the cost, the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday.

The second floor would have housed offices for the Washington County Commission on Aging, which will remain at its rented space on West Franklin Street in Hagerstown for now.

The commissioners voted 4-0 to have the center redesigned to bring the project cost closer to the amount budgeted after construction bids came in over budget.

Commissioner John F. Barr abstained and left the room for the discussion because his company, Ellsworth Electric, would have been a subcontractor for several of the bidders.

The total cost of the center as designed would have been about $8 million, while the scaled-down, one-story center will cost about $6.5 million, Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said.

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The county’s budget for the project was about $5.8 million.

The main-level amenities will remain in the plan, including  class and activity rooms, a computer lab, fitness room, kitchen facilities, multipurpose meeting rooms, counseling and adviser offices, restrooms and a 4,500-square-foot gymnasium.

Redesigning and rebidding the project is expected to delay construction by about four months, pushing the center’s opening to December 2013, Kroboth said.

The $688,310 increase in the project’s budget will come from $800,000 in savings realized due to early payment of Airport Runway Improvement Bonds, which the commissioners had previously agreed to use for the senior center when they were unsure if a state grant would be available.

The commissioners’ decision was met by applause by about 30 seniors who attended the meeting holding “Seniors For Our Own Senior Center” signs.

“I’m ecstatic,” said aging commission board member and senior center advocate Bill Beard.

Beard said the commission on aging board urged the commissioners to move ahead with the project on the proposed site — with or without the second-floor offices.

Other options

Other options Kroboth presented to the commissioners included constructing the center as an expansion on the existing HCC Athletic Recreation and Community Center, selecting a new site and designing a smaller building, or eliminating the project from consideration at present.

Commissioners President Terry Baker was in favor of building the center as designed with the second floor, but ultimately joined commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham, Jeffrey A. Cline and William B. McKinley in voting for the one-story redesign.

The redesign will eliminate the need for a stairwell, elevator, and 7,780 square feet planned for the second-floor. It will also reduce the building height, and the size of various structural components and electrical and mechanical systems, Kroboth said.

The commission on aging could relocate to the senior center in the future when funds are available to construct an expansion, he said.

New bids sought

All construction bids will be rejected, and the county will seek new bids for the redesigned center, the commissioners agreed.

The county received six bids for construction, but the lowest bidder, Roy C. Kline Contractors of Smithsburg, did not submit a required federal form summarizing its affirmative action plan and hiring intentions.

As a result, that bid was deemed nonresponsive, and the next-lowest bidder, Warner Construction of Frederick, Md., would have been recommended for the project, Kroboth said.

Kline’s bid was $6,945,060, and Warner’s was $7,037,777. Both were above the county’s construction budget of $5,180,900.

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