Lee County library bids 'within range'

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Barring the development of some unforeseen issue, construction on the long-discussed Lee County Library branch will begin by the end of May.

Construction CGM Inc. of Colquitt turned in the apparent low bid on the library branch/conference center at a bid opening Thursday with a base bid of $3.925 million. That bid was a mere $2,000 lower than JCI General Contractors of Moultrie.

The area companies were among 11 that bid on the project, which will be funded through Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax IV and VI dollars and $2 million in state bonds.

Lead architect Sonya Spalinger and project architect Bruce Richards of Albany-based SRJ Architects Inc. conducted the bid opening at the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building.

"Construction CGM of Colquitt is the apparent low bidder, but since the bids all came in slightly higher than anticipated, we'll determine the low bidder by looking at the alternates," Spalinger said. "We'll take the deductible alternates in order and determine the apparent low bidder from those numbers."

SRJ will make a final recommendation at the Lee County Commission's business meeting Tuesday, and the Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a bid at that time.

"The bids were in line with what the Board of Commissioners expected for the new public library," Commission Chairman Ed Duffy said. "SRJ will review the bids and make a recommendation to the board for approval. Hopefully, construction will begin by the end of May."

County Library Director Claire Leavy said the bid numbers fell within the range Lee officials had anticipated.

"We're very enthused about the numbers today," she said. "They fell within the range we can work with, and I'm confident the commission will make a business decision on this matter that benefits all residents of Lee County."

Both ICB General Contractors of Warner Robins and the Kinney Company LLC of Albany were within $73,000 of Construction CGM's apparent low bid, ICB at $3.995 million and Kinney at $3,997,700.

Richards said bid packages included seven deductible alternates that would be considered in order based on descending level of importance. Those alternates include window canopies, walk-off mats, replacement floor covering, a masonry enclosure for the HVAC chiller, interior and exterior brick pavers and kitchen equipment.

"We'll go through all the alternates and then determine an apparent low bidder," Richards said. "It actually could change the bid outcome."

Spalinger said later Thursday that the alternate bids were still being calculated. Unofficial figures gathered at the bid opening show deductible alternate bids totalling $94,200 for Construction CGM, $88,154 for JCI General Contractors, $88,154 for ICB General Contractors and $95,425 for Kinney.

If those numbers are accurate, CGM would remain the apparent low bidder.

"Education is one of the cornerstones of Lee County's vision," Duffy said. "The Board of Education, the school system and the library system are evidence of this commitment. This library, I believe, will pay dividends in the county for generations to come.

"When this project is complete, I believe it will stimulate economic developments along (State) Highway 82 and benefit all citizens of Lee County."

Hensler and Beavers Construction of Doraville turned in the apparent low bid when the project was originally bid in August of last year, but that bid exceeded the project's budget by slightly less than $1 million.

Spalinger and Richards have since redrawn the library/conference center, cutting costs by scaling down the design and through value engineering.