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Ready to begin: Shepherdstown Public Library considers bids for new building project

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Sep 18, 2020

Architect Jessica Damseaux, of Alexander Design Studio, was present at the Morgan's Grove Park-based bid opening, to open the sealed bids. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Sept. 2, the Shepherdstown Public Library Board of Trustees held the public bidding opening for the construction of its new building and site, at Morgan’s Grove Park.

The bidding had been originally intended to begin in July, but was delayed in opening, according to trustee and Building Committee Chair Bob Keller.

“The bid opening was delayed until August 17, because we had concerns about the correct procedures, with respect to the West Virginia Fair Bidding Law,” Keller said. “All of the people we had done business with in the past claimed a conflict of interest, so we sought legal advice from other sources. After about 10 days of searching, we found an expert in the Charleston area who gave us some guidance. He vetted our prospects and was in fact very complimentary of it.

“The one point he felt we needed to change, had to do with the ad alternatives. The law was very specific about it . . . we had to reorganize our bidding documents, so the ad alternatives only were five, so we were in complete compliance,” Keller said. “Once we got that straightened out, we went ahead with the bid opening.”

During the public bidding at the park, the library board did its best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring each contractor’s information table to be located six feet away from each other. Board members at the public bidding took time to talk with the contractors at each table, before receiving their sealed bids.

In the board’s monthly meeting on Sept. 9, the board revealed the names of the companies that gave the lowest bids for work on the building’s site, as well as the building itself.

“Apparent low bidders are Kinsley Construction, for site work, and Hoar Construction, for the new library building,” said a press release from the library. “Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and recent hurricane activity, bids were higher than anticipated. Initial contract discussions with Kinsley Construction are scheduled for this Friday, September 18. It is expected that, at long last, site work will begin in October!”

One area of concern the library mentioned, is that the cost of the construction is higher than anticipated, with Kinsley Construction’s bid coming in at $642,400 and Hoar Construction’s bid coming in at $3,429,514. The library has raised a little over $3 million in donations for the construction.

“The combined bid for the site and the building and the added alternatives was $4,797,655,” Keller said. “With that in mind, the board and the architect and the owner’s representative and the contractors are going to have to work out where the money’s going to come from. We’re going to come together to talk about that in an executive session.”

The construction prices may be related to the continual rise in construction input prices over the last three months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data.