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Bids for civic center work under advisement — Commission could spend a little or spend a lot to rehab outdoor facilities

Bids for a painting project at the Lincoln Civic Center are in, and commissioners have 10 days to check their budget and choose from several options for protecting the steel of their outdoor facilities.

Bids from two painting contractors were opened and compared Tuesday for the “red iron project” to blast away rust and repaint the structural steel at the center’s stall barn and performance arena, where 20 years of exposure to wind and rain have caused deterioration of the original paint. The two bids contained a total of seven alternatives that could alter — or double — the project’s cost, so supervisors tabled action on the bids until the board’s June 4 meeting, giving civic center commissioners an extra week to weigh the pros and cons.

“It’s hard to say who the apparent low bidder is,” said county engineer Ryan Holmes. “We’re going to take these under advisement.”

Stephens TPS Inc., of Lorman, and Diamond Enterprise Inc., of Gloster were the only two contractors to bid on the job, which calls for pressure washing and spot priming and painting the steel beams and columns at both structures. Stephens will do the job for $150,000, while Diamond proposes the same work for $145,550.

Bid laws say it would be Diamond’s job if the commission opts for the baseline work, but the companies traded positions in the job’s alternative bids. Diamond would still be cheaper if work on the buildings’ purlins was added to the job, but Stephens has a lower cost if commissioners want the bid’s second alternate  — sandblasting the steel instead of pressure washing.

That option, the best and most expensive, would almost double the project’s cost. Stephens would be the low bidder then, proposing the work for $282,000 instead of Diamond’s $304,550. Stephens did not bid on a third option for adding purlins to the sandblasting option, but Diamond would want an additional $129,000 for the work.

The commission will have to decide how much of its budget it wants to designate to the red iron project — it began 2018 with a balance of $220,267 to the good and has almost $450,000 to work with after supervisors’ appropriation of $228,885, which has been the same since 2016.

Supervisors are kicking in $135,000 for the job, so the commission would only need to come up with around $15,000 for Diamond’s base bid. Supervisors’ contribution comes from a $900,000 loan taken out last November that has been used to replace the roof on the Lincoln County Jail, purchase property for a new office for the Lincoln County Emergency Management Office and other projects.

Civic center manager Quinn Jordan said the commission would review the options to make sure the project was completed economically.

“We just have to look at our budget, look at what money we have available,” he said.

Engineering estimates for the red iron project ranged from $165,000 to almost $300,000.