Last updated: November 07. 2013 4:26PM - 777 Views
By - cberendt@civitasmedia.com

Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentClinton Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil talks about proposed renovations at his department's main facilities on John Street. The City Council approved a $580,000 project that would renovate and expand the building.
Chris Berendt/Sampson IndependentClinton Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil talks about proposed renovations at his department's main facilities on John Street. The City Council approved a $580,000 project that would renovate and expand the building.
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A half-million dollar renovation and expansion project for the City of Clinton Public Works facility on John Street, which officials said would extend the building’s life by 30 years, has been given the green-light by the City Council.

The 2013-14 budget included $500,000 in funding for renovations at the Public Works facility, located at 200 John St. The facility is over 40 years old and in need of maintenance, repairs and updating, including the roof, Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil said. The city recently solicited proposals from several builders and received two responses, with the City Council ultimately approving a proposal of $561,500 from Jackson Builders of Goldsboro.

The total budget impact of the contract will be approximately $580,000 with contingencies.

“During the last few months we have requested three proposals for a design-build renovation of the existing Public Works facility,” Vreugdenhil said in a review to Council. “We entertained proposals from three different large contractors who can do the design and build themselves. All three gave very good proposals.”

The three contractors from which proposals were requested were Daniels and Daniels Inc. of Goldsboro, Smithson Inc. of Rocky Mount and Jackson Builders. Of the two proposals received, Smithson Inc. submitted a slightly lower base bid of $555,025, but Vreugdenhil said staff ultimately opted for Jackson’s. Both proposals included detailed floor plans and specifications with approximately 1,500 square feet of new construction and 3,000 square feet of renovations.

Vreugdenhil said Public Works facility upgrades have been considered over the past couple years and $500,000 was put in the current budget for those renovations. Each contractor was asked to provide a proposal taking the available space for remodeling and suggest a floor plan which best suited the long-range plans of the Public Works Department.

The plans were then subjected to a “lengthy review” by Vreugdenhil, city manager Shawn Purvis, and Public Works officials Tony Steffen and Travis Anderson.

“The last addition to the Public Works complex was in 1972,” said Vreugdenhil to Council. “A lot of you have visited the Public Works facility and know of its condition. The upside to (Jackson’s) plan was that the floor plan flowed better and made it more private for visiting citizens, created a good hub for staff and addressed all the roof concerns.”

Deciding factors in recommending Jackson’s proposal were additions of a brick veneer wall on 75 linear feet of wall, versus metal siding; the addition of painting the attached garage portion, which Vreugndehil said is “significant in size.”

“In all, we all agreed this was the best proposal given to us,” Vreugdenhil said.

With a small percentage of contingency funds added to the base amount, the cost would hover around $580,000.

“This was included in the budget — $500,000 of it was,” Purvis noted. “Yes, it is above that, but it does include some roof and structural things that we could go ahead and do that would be cheaper to do now than later.”

The Public Works facility renovations will see the expansion of the break room and restroom facilities and a re-design of the office space in existing offices to accommodate three offices and a receiving area. The project is expected to accommodate the office and break room needs for the next several decades, as current employee numbers are within 10 percent of what they were in 1990.

“It will be a significant addition,” said Vreugdenhil. “On any given day, we basically have 35 guys who break in the cafeteria area. That is the end of the building.”

He said expanding the break room and restroom facilities will also better accommodate employees and present a more sanitary environment, where there is enough room to wash up in the restroom rather than utilizing common areas.

“Gentlemen will come in to eat their lunch from working on the garbage truck … they have nowhere to wash other than the cafeteria,” Vreugdenhil said.

The renovations will expand the area parallel to Vreugdenhil’s office near the entrance of the building, which is essentially in a breezeway, where visitors have to step outside to go into the other part of the building that includes the cafeteria and a small reception area. That area, with the addition would expand the receptionist area and, subsequently, allow for the layout to change to increase the size of other areas.

“All this would be a new visitor’s lounge and a reception area to where the receptionist is not sitting in the doorway. It’s a good bit of addition,” the Public Works director said. “The lunchroom would have a concession and vending, and there would be a uniform and laundry room, which would be accessible only from the back so when Cintas Uniform Service comes — instead of walking through the front door, they simply come up the ramp, into the laundry room and leave.”

The proposal includes new roofing of the entire facility excluding the garage portion.

“It is a complete roof overhaul,” said Vreugdenhil. “That is in very bad shape”

Purvis noted that $150,000-$200,000 was recently placed in reserves in the Water and Sewer Fund, from which the renovations are being funded, so part of that could pay the difference in the project cost. It is a project that is made significantly less expensive due to a special legislation request made by the city earlier this year, and subsequently approved, allowing the city to side-step the bidding process.

“This is one of the projects we have special legislation to do design-build,” said Purvis.

Specifically, that special legislation authorizes the city to use the design-bid construction method for capital projects exceeding $300,000, saving a “significant amount” of money. Statutes previously allowed only for the utilization of the design-bid-build process, which requires the use of an architect or design professional to lead the process, producing increased costs.

City officials pinpointed the Public Works renovations at the beginning of this year as one that would benefit the most from such legislation.

“It’s 4,500 feet of either addition or renovation,” Purvis noted. “We’re talking 30 years of extension on the life of this building.”

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at cberendt@civitasmedia.com.

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