Current drawings for the upcoming Ward County Office Building were presented to county commissioners Wednesday morning, bidding was scheduled for the projects, and discussion surrounding the projects was voiced.
The deadline for drawings on the projects is Friday, which includes those for the Ward County Jail, which are being drawn up by a specialty firm other than JLG Architects, which are preparing the other designs.
A pre-bid meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 1 at the courthouse, but the bidding will be advertised weekly in The Minot Daily News starting on July 23 and ending on Aug. 13.
Bids will be opened on August 15 at 4 p.m. and will be awarded at 1 p.m. in a Aug. 16 special meeting of the commissioners.
There are 12 alternates that can be bid on to either be added or deducted from the final figure, based on the final chosen form the office building will take, based on the available budget for the project. Those alternates are:
1. A fourth floor shell. This open, unfinished option has long been a subject of controversy in discussions on the building. Most of the commissioners were of the opinion that the shell design was included in the base figure, but it turns out it was not. This bidding option would include all materials, labor and equipment involved, including infrastructure should the fourth floor be expanded, as well as an elevator extension to the space.
2. A fully finished fourth floor. This is in contrast to the open, shell design. A fully-formed fourth floor would include design for offices for the social services office, which would be located here should the finished option be feasible.
3. The "skyway," or suspended walkway which would connect the office building with the Ward County Courthouse, which is a registered historic building. A member of the citizen's committee made sure that architect Don Davison had done the necessary "legwork" to ensure construction would be based upon the recommendations of the state historical society.
4. Composite wall panels for the sides of the fourth floor shell, should that option be chosen. This would be an upgrade from the basic cement panels.
5. Wooden ceilings as an upgrade to the painted gypsum wall board base option.
6. Upgrading wall materials to an exposed foundation wall rather than the stucco faced exposed concrete walls.
7. An onboard generator with "Tier 4" emissions standards. This tier, the highest, is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for all non-emergency diesel backup generators.
8. Landscaping options.
9. The ninth option provides two choices: A choice of whether both proposed elevators will raise to the fourth floor, should the fourth floor be chosen, or whether only one will and the other will stop at the third.
10. Additional card readers. Card readers will be installed, by default, on entrances and to the entrances of office suites. Some department heads have indicated they are very interested in more secured areas, and some have recommended a card reader in the elevator to gain access to the fourth floor should social services be located there. Davison described the readers as expensive so these bid numbers should be of big interest to commissioners.
11. Omitting stairs to the third floor, as initially proposed, and only up to the atrium. There was no indication as to how stairs will comply with fire codes to provide access to all floors.
12. An enlarged canopy.
There was some discussion on the future of the Ward County Jail and the county's discussions with The Minot Daily News over the purchase of the newspaper's parking lot. These negotiations have been stale for sometime, but the commissioners continue to hope for positive results.
If not, three different designs for the jail have been made and the commissioners may have to pick an alternate design, which would differ from their top choice, in order to avoid moving into the newspaper's property.
Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski has expressed great concern over the overflow of his jail as crime increases relative to the population rise in the county. Ward County is second only to Williams County for rate of growth in North Dakota.
Kukowski also obtained a grant of $200,000 to help with the very immediate need for renovating the basement of the courthouse to allow for an expansion of juvenile detention, which is also overcrowded.