County Authorizes Phase II of EMS Station, Senior Center

At its July 26 meeting, the Door County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the authorization of phase II of the central ambulance station and human services resource center project. The presentation by Venture Architects and Immel Construction included a preliminary cost estimate and an updated design concept. Both groups spoke toward the environmental concern with using an old highway shop to house the county’s elderly.

“We know coming into the project we have some uncertainty coming into the site as well as the building itself and I would say the results of all of the testing were better than what we could have expected,” said John Cain of the Milwaukee-based Venture Architects. “For the most part, those concerns have been set aside.”

Cain explained a fund of $676,381 dedicated to the removal and replacement of contaminated soils, should construction crews find any. This fund is different from the five percent contingency fund of $396,203 that will deal with any other unforeseen complications as construction begins.

Both of these funds are part of the final cost estimate of $10,399,073 put forth by Immel Construction. The estimation is broken down into construction costs, or the actual construction of the building and soft costs, which include professional fees, surveying and soil testing that would be needed at the site.

“The contingency would be for cost overruns. It would be incurred during construction, unforeseen conditions, things that may pop up after construction starts,” said Paul Martzke of Immel Construction. “We’re still carrying an allowance in our budget to cover any cleanup that’s needed with the environmental issues within the building.”

The estimated cost is about $400,000 above what was discussed earlier this year when the county authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds or promissory notes up to $9,995,000 for this project. Martzke said the difference is due to some additional work on the site such as relocation of the salt shed and expanded asphalt paving.

While the cost is above what was originally estimated, the contingency and cleanup funds would come back to the county if they were not used, resulting in potential savings of more than $1 million from the $10.4 million price tag.

“If everything goes the way it’s supposed to be and there’s no surprises, there is potential to have significant savings upwards of $1 million and that’s where the county staff will be diligent,” said Supervisor Joel Gunnlaugsson.

“And it will be competitively bid out as well so we’re hoping that the market will bear some savings,” said Martzke. “Once the market gets at the project that should help.”

County Administrator Ken Pabich said the county already set aside $2 million beginning in 2013 in anticipation of the project. After some design and environmental studies, there is still nearly $1.8 million left in that fund.

“Now that we’re getting more detailed numbers we can start looking at that in more detail,” said Pabich. “Bonding for the project, [$9,995,000] would be the high end amount for the project.”

The county also provided the estimated cost to taxpayers under 10-, 15-, and 20-year loan repayment schedules. A 10-year plan would cost homeowners $174.08 per $100,000 in home value over the entire 10-year period. A 20-year plan would cost $200.46 per $100,000 in home value.

“I feel we’re being very transparent on showing the public what this project will actually cost them,” said Supervisor Richard Virlee.

Venture Architects plans to return in mid-August to finalize site development and the interior design. Bids will likely go out at the end of October and construction is planned for 12 months beginning at the end of this year.

The county board also approved the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) 2017-2021, which includes all projects that have an estimated cost greater than $50,000 and a service life of more than five years.

“It’s not an authorizing document,” said Pabich. “What you’re looking at is a planning document that’s looking at larger capital projects…We’re trying to manage our debt and manage what we think we can afford within our own levy portion or how we’re going to manage our debt to make sure we’re not getting ourselves into a hole.”

The CIP includes the county goal of resurfacing an average of 18 miles of road each year as well as software updating and replacing the roof on the Sturgeon Bay Library.

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