ARKWRIGHT — The old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Arkwright has taken that approach with its building plans in the town.
At the most recent meeting of the Arkwright Town Board, members in attendance voted to approve authorization and payment to CPL: Architecture, Engineering, and Planning Firm to again seek bids for a newly designed Highway Department building.
“This has been a real learning experience for me. It’s a lot hard than I thought it would be,” Town Supervisor Brian McAvoy said.
Just a handful of days past a year to the date when Bob Nordin of CPL presented the plans for a new Arkwright Town Hall and Highway Department structure, Nordin made another appearance at the most recent Arkwright Town Board meeting to discuss how to proceed. A year after the initial plans for the building, no construction on a new structure has been done.
The initial plans were to construct one Town Hall building that encompassed all needs of the town, including a garage for the Highway Department. However, when that project went out to bid, the figures that came back were much higher than expected.
“The bid opening for our building project was atrocious. I don’t know what other word to use. It was beyond what anybody thought it should be,” McAvoy said at the time.
Just the general contractor cost, not including plumbing and electrical costs, came in at $1.2 million over what the town budgeted for. “It’s crazy, crazy money,” said McAvoy.
The Town Board then pivoted to a Highway Department Building addition, followed by an addition to the current Town Hall. But again, the bid process did not go as planned, as the town did not receive any bids for the project. McAvoy stated the reason he was given later on was the timeline was too tight.
“I had three contractors that told me they were going to bid it, but come bid day, they didn’t turn in a bid,” Nordin said of the previous building project.
The Town Board held off on paying CPL a second time because it still had nothing to show for its efforts. McAvoy then discussed an agreement with CPL in which the town would pay its outstanding bill for the second bid process, then a third payment at a discount of 40% for the reconfigured plans with an extended timeline to go out for bid one more time.
The payment for the second design was $34,700, with an additional payment of $32,800 for the third building design up through the bid process.
“I don’t think we should be angry; I think we should be saying it’s a sign of the times. It is what it is, (expletive) is expensive,” McAvoy said. “We’ve got two choices, either throw in the towel and pay $34,700, or we persevere and pay another $32,800.”
Town Board members Bruce Gustafson, Larry Ball, and Chris Jackson, along with McAvoy, approved the payments. Board member Lynn Bedford was absent from the meeting.
“We’ll be careful. We can do some investigation as well, and we’ll make sure we don’t put a timeline on it that’s so short that everybody throws up their hands and doesn’t bid. We’ll make sure we get some bids this time around,” McAvoy said.
The latest design of the new Highway Building is a pole barn addition, which McAvoy stated will be “a fraction of the cost” of the previous designs. The Town Hall additions were not discussed at the latest meeting, though discussions are expected to continue at a later date.