Officials pick surprise contractor for public safety center

The Moffat County Public Safety Center project has taken another turn from its planned course.

On Monday the Moffat County Board of Commissioners approved a contractor to start work on the project, but it wasn't one of the two finalists commissioners and the public safety center work group had selected to compete for the final project bid. The new contractor is TCD Inc. of Steamboat Springs. The company will team with DLR group of Denver, the architectural firm that has produced the schematic design for the project.

TCD Inc. came up with a bid at the last minute that looked better to the work group and board of commissioners than the two teams that were competing for the job. The other two teams were PCL Inc. and Sahara Inc. of Salt Lake City and G.E Johnson of Denver.

According to Jim Robertson, public safety center project manager, TCD Inc. came in with a last-minute bid that promised the completion of the project to the current schematic design under the $8 million price cap. The other two contractors' bids came in higher than the $8 million and did not include everything the public safety center work group or the Board of Commissioners wanted in the schematic design.

"This was a big step toward the construction of the public safety center," said Robertson. "TCD will construct the public safety center within budget and will give us the schematic design that was recommended by the team."

Robertson said TCD Inc. being picked over the other two contractors surprised some people, but the commissioners were within their legal rights to pick the new group.

"Some folks were hit unexpectedly by the decision," said Robertson. "The county had a disclaimer that allowed them to do this in the RFP (request for proposal). It was in the best interest of the county."

Clegg Mabey, marketing manager for Sahara Inc., didn't see the process as being fair.

"Our firm has done six projects similar to this in the past two years," said Mabey. "I can tell you the building they wanted was at least $1 million, if not $2 million, over budget. We spent about $15,000 or $20,000 figuring out how we could get the cost of the project down to $7.2 million. We solved the problem and we get a phone call telling us they went with someone who wasn't even in the game from the start."

Robertson expects site work will begin in three or four weeks and actual construction will start some time after the first of the year.

Robertson believes TCD Inc. was able to under-bid other contractors because the company described itself as a lean company with little overhead. The other reason is the company is familiar with the area and knows the local market, therefore it can chose subcontractors with the best rates.

The construction team for the public safety center will be introduced to the public Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Craig City Council Chambers. Tom Perkens will be the project manager from TCD Inc.

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