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2009-01-15

R&B facility - ‘good time to pursue this work’

By Judith Pannebaker

Work on a new Bandera County Road and Bridge Facility is slowly, but inexorably, inching closer to a start date, according to Wayne Gondeck, AIA, of San Antonio’s DRG Architects.

During the Thursday, Jan. 8, meeting of commissioners court, Gondeck and Javier Franco, Yates Construction project manager for the jail and justice center, ironed out details that might allow work to begin on the long-awaited road and bridge facility in the next couple of months.

The original facility, located on Highway 16 North near Mansfield Park, was destroyed in 2002 flooding. Since then, county crews have been working out of a temporary facility at Mansfield Park. The new facility will be located behind the Bandera County Jail and Justice Center on Highway 173 North.

To allow the county more “bang for their bucks,” Gondeck recommended commissioners continue the construction manager-at-risk scenario they approved for the jail and justice center.

“As construction manager-at-risk, my interest is bringing the best value to the county,” Franco said. “If that were not the case, I would advise you to go out for bids.”

The proposal for the road and bridge facility was still hot off the press, after being modified earlier that morning. “It’s a good, solid straightforward proposal with two parts,” Gondeck explained, “a construction-manager-at-risk contract that also includes a competitive bidding element.”

According to Franco, Yates Construction offered to extend the general conditions of the contract for the jail and justice center at a cost of $36,000 for three months and also to charge 5 percent of the cost of work on the road and bridge facility. All other components of the project would be subject to competitive bidding.

“(Yates) also offered pre-construction services without further cost to the county,” Gondeck said, noting that the costs of services already rendered, such as site preparation, would be included in the final contract.

“Preliminary estimates have been shared with subcontractors, but we can get the numbers decreased during the next couple of months through competitive bidding and preliminary schedules,” Franco said. He added that the 5 percent fee would be determined on the “hard cost” for the work.

Franco also anticipated the road and bridge facility would take an additional three months to complete after wrap-up of construction on the jail and justice center. Eager to snag the R&B project for Yates Construction, he said, “We would like to maintain a relationship with the county.”

According to Franco, the “guaranteed maximum price” or total price of the project would be calculated after the submission of bids from subcontractors. “The ‘unknown’ is the cost of the work,” he added.

Noting that one of the more expensive aspects of the project would be paving and asphalt work, County Judge Richard Evans said road and bridge crews could do the work “in-house” should the price prove prohibitive.

Additionally, Evans voiced pleasure with Franco’s contribution to the jail project.

“I was a little apprehensive and skeptical at first (using a construction manager-at-risk), but I believe it’s worked better than any other way,” he said. Referring to the justice and jail center, Evans added, “We couldn’t have done this project otherwise.”

Hashing out a probable timeline, Franco anticipated bringing the final design “and numbers” of the R&B facility to the court on Feb. 26. “You can bless it and we’ll build it,” he said, promising to deliver both projects within a “reasonable timeframe.”
Drawings for the road and bridge facility, he added, were 90 percent complete.

Franco also pointed out, “(Yates) crews will still be onsite after completing the jail to take care of any problems associated with that project.”

“Building this thing isn’t rocket science,” Evans noted. “It’s basically a metal shop building with an office attached.”

“Road and bridge has been without a facility for way too long,” commented Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Harris. “We need it done.”

Waiting, however, might have been to the county’s fiscal benefit. Prices for concrete have stabilized and cost for copper tubing and wire and steel has gone down. In addition, by Franco’s estimates, the price of wood has decreased 20 percent.

“Market conditions have turned in our favor,” he said. “Things are a lot more competitive than they were even five months ago. This is a good time to pursue this work.”