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2013-06-06

Shelter manager-agent selection soon

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

With a little luck and a lot of questions, on Thursday, June 13, Bandera County Commissioners will finally select a construction manager-agent who will be charged with getting a proposed new animal shelter off the ground.

Among other duties, the construction manager-agent will assist with the development of trade contractor bid packages and assist the county with reviewing the bids and awarding contracts for the 5,600 square foot metal building, concrete slab and masonry work, as well as for mechanical, electrical and plumbing components.

During a meeting on May 23, County Judge Richard Evans reviewed the Requests for Qualifications returned by Robert L. Koimn and Zane Everett.

Given a chance by Evans "to beat his own drum," Koimn talked about his long history as a licensed architect and planner in both public and private sectors, as well as his experience in overseeing projects.

Local projects, Koimn said, have included the outdoor musical venue at 11th Street Cowboy Bar, a Mexican restaurant and a project at the Cielo Rio subdivision that was not completed.

In his curriculum vitae, Koimn listed clients in large metropolitan areas, such as Miami-Dade County; those in rural areas, i.e., in Bandera; and McAllen, which he characterized as "in between."

He also told the court he had voluntarily relinquished his architect's license. However, since he holds emeritus status, Koimn indicated his license could be reinstated "at any time." Additionally, he has looked into purchasing the all-important professional liability insurance.
Project architect Kenneth Burns described the insurance, which is required by state statutes, as "critical."

In his one page cover letter, Everett indicated he had worked at Boerne's Roy Maas Youth Alternatives for the last 20 years "doing progressive building as funds become available." The $5 million construction included a school and cafeteria, along with a regulation-size gymnasium, administrative offices and library.

Everett did not attend last month's meeting.

To Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris' question as to whether he had reviewed plans for the shelter, Koimn said, "No." The plans had been available in Evans' office for two months.

In his CV, Koimn had stated: "Although I have not seen the plans for the facility, I am confident, based upon the vast between the anticipated cost and the single bid amount received, there are opportunities to reduce these costs.

There are always alternative solutions for design issued - not only in concept but in materials and methods specified."

Regarding the "Star Trek-ish single bid," Harris said, "The bid we received was crazy. I worked on the contract a long time and I feel we can get pretty close to our price.

This isn't going to be a pole barn."

Harris, along with Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Wilkerson, are spearheading the shelter project.

To recap, when commissioners went out for construction proposals earlier in the spring, Burns received only a single proposal. A construction company out of Florida via San Antonio offered to complete the proposed shelter for $800,000 - more than four times the amount previously budgeted.

During the April 11, meeting, Burns called the amount "astronomical," explaining, "Sometimes, a construction firm sees governments as having deep pockets. If they know they're the only bidder on a contract, they'll throw out big numbers to see if they stick."

"Well, it didn't stick," Evans replied dryly. During the May meeting, Evans described the $200,000 budget as "a reasonable price."

Noting that the current design of the facility contained "no fluff," Burns said, "It's barebones now and we have to be creative."

"We may have to reduce the number of kennels and cherry pick other things," Evans said.

"We'll also be using inmate crews and county labor," Harris added, cutting costs further.

Prior to the meeting on Thursday, June 13, commissioners planned to meet privately with both Koimn and Everett. In addition, both men will be invited to the next meeting of commissioners court and state their cases.