County seeks project bids




During a special meeting on Monday, the Finney County Commission gave the green light to advertising for bids on a project to renovate the Finney County Exhibition Building.

The project will be bid as a base package and two alternates.

The base package includes exterior work, including demolition of the existing south canopy, site work, construction of a new south entry vestibule, south canopy, exterior door and hardware replacement, painting of new doors, existing frames and exterior masonry walls and other related work.

Alternate No. 1 includes the interior portion of the project, including renovations to the serving kitchen, a retro-fit of insulation systems, painting, heating equipment replacement, lighting, circulation fans and other related work.

Alternate No. 2 includes an additional storage area and vestibule on the east side of the existing building, including doors and openings in the east wall.

An estimate in March put the cost of the overall project at about $884,000. However, the project architect, Blaine Davis, told the commission Monday he would need to make revisions reflecting the project's packaging and would provide new estimates for the base package and the alternates as soon as possible.

Davis asked for commission input on a few things that could affect price estimates, including the Alternate No. 2.

"We've talked about adding additional storage. Mainly what we're talking about is storage for tables and chairs, and also the fair board has some big, glass cases they need to store somewhere. We're putting an overhead door in there so you can bring stuff in and out," he said.

Regarding other parts of the project, Davis said proposed new roller doors for the building will have much improved insulation and seals, and the building will have a different type of lighting, using LED lighting instead of high-bay fluorescent lights. The LED lights are required to be 25 feet off the floor instead of the current 40 feet.

"The life expectancy on these is 100,000 hours," Davis said.

Commissioner Larry Jones asked whether the skylights in the roof would be covered up.

Davis said he is not recommending covering the skylights.

"They were replaced 11 to 12 years ago, and when the guys were up looking at the roof they thought the skylights looked good and there wasn't any deterioration from ultraviolet rays. They thought they were in good shape and have many more serviceable years left," Davis said.

Several weeks ago, the commission discussed adding improved Internet infrastructure to the project, but decided to leave it out of the project, except for making sure conduits are in place as part of the electrical work. Commissioners indicated the county may revisit technology improvements in the future as a separate project.

To reduce the impact on events, the work might be split into a couple of phases, with exterior work possibly starting after the county fair ends on Aug. 5, and the interior work shooting for a scheduling window between late October and late December.

Angie Clark, fairgrounds manager, said those time frames would have the least impact on bookings.

"Some of the exterior can be started sooner, because no matter what, we would have other entrances and exits. If they did the exterior in phases, the building could still be utilized," she said.

The county has about $850,000 available in its budget for the project from reserve funds and county sales tax. County officials also have discussed seeking a lease-purchase agreement to finance the project at a low interest rate over two to four years.

The request for bid proposals will be open for 30 days. The county expects to open bids on June 6. Initially, the bids will be opened and tabulated by a small committee that includes Davis and Commission Chairman Dave Jones. The bids then would be reviewed by the full commission at its next meeting on June 10.

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