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July 09, 2008 8:00 pm

Aquatic center bids opened

Written by Tribune Staff

Sletten apparent low bidder, but city waiting on Burbach's recommendation
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City crews are already hard at work on the access road to the new aquatic center. The city is also working on water plans for the center — the plans must gain Department of Environment Quality approval in terms of how waste water is handled. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner
Bids on construction of the family aquatic center were opened at City Hall on Thursday, July 10, and a local firm is the apparent low bidder.
Sletten Construction of Wyoming, a Powell-Cody company, submitted the low overall bid of $7,970,040 to construct all three phases of the project. However, until a formal recommendation is made by Burbach Aquatics, the Wisconsin firm hired by the city to design and engineer the project, no action will be taken.
According to City Administrator Zane Logan, “Even with their recommendation, it doesn't mean anything until the City Council acts on it at their July 21 meeting.”
Burbach's recommendation hinges on a thorough evaluation of each individual bid, in addition to checking the various certifications required of each bidder.
“They need to make sure, both legally and practically, that we're (making the right decision),” said Logan.
Sletten's construction bid is well above the $7 million estimate used when Park County voters approved a capital facilities tax in 2006 to raise money for pool construction. (An additional $2 million was approved for an operations and maintenance endowment.)
Sletten president Shawn Warner of Powell said, “We've offered (to city officials) that we know of several items we can adjust in terms of products and building materials that could save additional money. I think the city is waiting for architect approval, and that's the appropriate thing to do. But what's apparent is, even without the 5 percent (preference given to Wyoming companies), we are roughly $670,000 below (the next lowest bidders on all three phases).”
The project is divided into three contracts, and alternates, with each contract requiring a separate bid amount. Contract No. 1 is for construction of the actual pool; Contract No. 2 deals with the pool mechanics, and Contract No. 3 is the general construction phase. Sletten was the only company to submit a combination bid for all three phases of construction. Other bidders include L.M. Olson Inc. of Rawlins as well as Illinois companies Ricchio Inc. and Illinois Mechanical. The last three companies each bid on a single contract.
Logan said the city “reserves the right to reject any and all bids,” and that remains a possibility.
However, City Councilman John Wetzel said, “I don't believe it would be good right now to reject the bids (and start over). My personal thought is that we should accept the low bid, work to cut materials to save money and move forward.”
Warner agreed, saying, “We believe it's in the city's best interest to award the bid to us. We can value engineer to cut some costs, we're prepare to begin as scheduled. (A new bidding process) involves delays, re-doing plans and rebidding, and there's no assurance the costs won't increase (in the end).”
The city will perform close to $900,000 of in-kind construction work for infrastructure related to the project. The State Loan and Investment Board also recently approved the county consensus request for nearly $1.4 million for the city of Powell, a portion of which will be used for pool infrastructure construction.