Contract awarded for new Town Hall
The Town Council, meeting in special session on Tuesday evening, has unanimously awarded a contract to build a new Town Hall to Callas Contractors, based out of Hagerstown, Md. The vote to award the contract followed three weeks of negotiations between Town Hall archictect Andy Singletary, construction manager Jim Brady, and two of the low bidders, Callas Contractors and Brechbill and Helman Construction, based out of Chambersburg, Pa. Most of the meeting was held behind closed doors in executive session as the Town Council debated the particulars of the two competing bids. State law allows for closed meetings when discussing the particulars of competing bids not yet awarded.
In the end, the Town Council went with Callas, which had submitted the lowest bid at $857,000. Shepherdstown has already spent $104,000 on the project for engineering and architectural drawings and the services of Singletary. The total budget for the project is $1.2 million.
“We are very excited to get this contract,” said Tim Campbell, president of Callas Contractors by phone on Wednesday morning. “In this economy it’s been hard to get work . . . the government is one of the few entities spending money.”
“Callas was the low bidder, they have a good reputation. It wasn’t that complicated,” said Singletary after the meeting.
Initially, many involved in the project thought that a contract would have been awarded last week. However the arrival of a new Town Council with three freshman members, Councilmen Josh Stella, Bane Schill and David Rosen, required some catching up on all the work so far done on the project, which has been on the drawing board for nearly two years now. “We were at the end gate at our first meeting,” said Stella after the meeting. “My main concern was reading the details to search for issues, nothing leapt out at me.”
Prior to the meeting, and before the Council entered executive session, a discussion ensued over the cost of rock removal, estimated to cost $30,000 on its own. According to Singletary and Brady, rock removal is the mot common source of conflict in construction contract disputes. The contractors are paid by the truckload for rocks removed from the site. But not all rocks are rocks. Rocks under 12 inches in diameter are considered to be soil, not having much potential to disrupt construction by their presence. But it is when the larger rocks, more obstructive rocks, are broken down to be moved that confusion can arise, as it becomes difficult to differentiate between chunks of rock which came off of a larger rock and smaller “soil” rocks already on the site.
The construction of the new Town Hall will require the demolition of the existing Town Hall which has stood at 104 N. King Street since 1948. The current Town Hall features a unique sloped concrete block construction which gives it the appearance of having large wood siding.
The new Town Hall will be a 3,000 square foot, two story, wood framed and brick veneer building. It’s construction is not particularly complex, with Singletary describing the complex as “basically a large house.” It will house a larger Town Council meeting room, and the police department will also be relocated from their current spot in the Apex office building near Princess and Washington streets.
The final contract will now be reviewed by lawyers representing Callas and Shepherdstown. Once the contract is approved by the lawyers, a notice to proceed will be issued.