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Oconto County Hires Lawson For Law Enforcement Design

Oconto County on Thursday, June 19 agreed to hire the Potter Lawson firm of Madison to design its new Law Enforcement Center. Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann reported five proposals were received. Two of the prices were close to Lawson’s $1,275,500 bid, but the Madison firm was deemed to be the best fit, Hamann said. He explained they had come up with a proposal for “a very efficient building , the best in terms of staffing.”

In addition to Potter Lawson bids were from Venture, $1,260,000 including expenses; Sommerville/DLR, $1,500,000; Mead and Hunt, $1,600,000, and Strollo, $1,310,000.

“I was not far off in my estimate of $1.3 million,” Hamann told the board. Recommendation to choose Potter Lawson came from the Law Enforcement/Judiciary and Public Property Committees after meeting with consultant Kurt Berner of the Samuels Group and county staff. The Venture Group was also interviewed during the selection process. Hamann said focus had been on which firm proposed the best design.

Ron Locast and Ken Lawson of the Potter Lawson group addressed the board briefly, explaining one of their focuses is design and construction of law enforcement facilities. They had done similar work for Green Lake, Vernon, LaCrosse and Rock Counties.

Supervisor Gary Frank asked if they had ever done work for Shawano County. Hamann suggested if Frank has any additional information he should get it to him and he will relay it to the board.

Vote in favor of contracting with Potter Lawson was 29 to one, with Frank casting the sole opposing vote. Supervisor Robert Pott was absent.

The board also approved a contract with the Samuels Group for additional services related to planning and constructing the building. The county had hired them for $4,000 to assist with the process of getting proposals for the building design, and Hamann said they were well pleased with their work.

The new contract is for services such as design review, pre-construction and construction services necessary to move forward. The contract includes $6,800 for plan review, $18,200 for pre construction services and 2.9 percent of construction costs - not to exceed $580,000 plus reimbursables for construction services as detailed in their contract. Construction cost is estimated at $20 million. Money for the consulting contract is to come from the $3 million Capital Projects Fund previously established to get the construction project started. Supervisor Rose Stellmacher asked what reimbursable expenses are anticipated and about the total anticipated price.

Before the contract was approved the board agreed to include Stellmacher’s proposed amendments adding the estimated $20 million total cost of the project and a provision stating that future reimbursable expenses will come to County Board for approval at a later date.

“We need somebody to help us with this, we don’t have the expertise to handle this ourselves and we don’t have the time,” Hamann said before the vote. She commented 2.9 percent of $20 million “is a very considerable number.”

Berner said they will break the contract into smaller packages so local contractors can bid on the work. “I know the goal is to keep as much of the work local as possible,” he said. He said part of the reason is to keep bid bonds low so smaller local contractors can afford them, but pointed out as a public entity they need to get sealed bids and cannot just give the contracts to local businesses.

He also will provide a full time Samuels employe to be on the site from the beginning of construction to the end.

He said Sheriff Mike Jansen and the Law Enforcement Committee have made it very clear from the beginning that efficiency and staffing are very important considerations, and added, “We’re an extension of this group (the county) and we’re going to protect your interests.”

“A good construction manager keeps the contractors on track,” Berner said, adding some language in the contract gives the construction supervisor authority to take steps that will save money and get the job done on schedule.

The board also approved several optional services to be done by Samuels, including asbestos and hazardous contaminants investigation, for an estimated $64,710, and property management services for the properties being acquired for site. Those services include site clearance, demolition, dealing with contamination issues, working with utilities, direct sales, showings, marketing campaigns, rental agreements, winterization, security, evictions, etc. as well as marketing as needed.

Berner expects construction to be a 14-month project. Frank also cast the sole “nay” vote on this contract. Design and approval will take about a year. He assured Stellmacher once the design is complete he can tell the board the construction schedule and put a cap on the supervision price. Frank estimated the construction supervisor for $14 months will cost under $200,000.

The board also agreed to have the clock on the courthouse tower repaired at a cost of $21,140, which includes adding back lighting for the clock. There had been $40,000 budgeted for the project. Hamann commented one hand has fallen off, “and it doesn’t always keep time accurately.” There is a 3-year warranty on the work, which will be done by Lumichron, of Grand Rapids, Mich. Other bid prices, from firms in Mooresville, Inc. and Cincinnati, Ohio, were for $26,428 and $27,551 respectively.

Board Chair Lee Rymer appointed David Honish of Lena as the School District Superintendent on the library board, replacing Robert Ray, who retired.

He named Diane Nichols as the Supervisor on the Northwoods Community Development Block Grant Housing Consortium replacing Hamann. This was at Hamann’s request. Hamann said he helped get it started, and he cannot afford to be away for the entire to attend meetings at Antigo. He added that Nichols is interested, and he will take her to the first meeting in May. The Consortium meets quarterly. Allan Stanz and Robert Pott were named to 3-year terms on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.


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