Barry County Commis-sioners appeared relieved after opening the last of four bids for the jail expansion projection last Thursday morning.
The final bid, submitted by Wehr Construction of Springfield, was $481,000, which was in line with architect's cost estimates of $500,000. The other three bids ranged from $588,000 to $626,000.
At a Jan. 24 budget hearing, Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren said the county hoped to be able to hire a general contractor to complete the jail project for $500,000. The Commission has already awarded two bids totalling $472,815 to Tindall Corp., of Charlotte, N.C., for the purchase of jail pods, which will be delivered in mid-April.
Total project cost now stands at around $1 million. With an additional $91,450 allocated for capital projects in the 2008 budget plus $708,000 in funds saved over the past three years, the county will be able to pay $800,000 of the project cost. The additional $200,000 will have to be borrowed.
According to Wehr Construction's bid, the general contractor has 170 days to complete the project. With the pods delivered in April, the County Commission hopes the newly expanded jail will be open for occupancy by August.
The existing Barry County Jail was originally built for a 32-prisoner capacity. This year, the jail averaged 48 prisoners a day.
When the jail is expanded, the county's prisoner capacity will increase from 32 to 80. The new jail pods are being built with three beds per cell rather than two and 16 new cells will be added.
The Commission voted to accept the low bid submitted by Wehr Construction on Jan. 31.
Other project bids that were submitted were as follows: Branco Enterprises, Inc., of Neosho, base bid of $626,000; Lacey Brothers Construction, Inc., of Springfield, base bid of $588,000; and Shelenhamer Construction, L.L.C., of Bolivar, $589,845.
The jail expansion project was designed by architect Richard Werner, who was present for last Thursday's bid opening. He said he handed out nine bid packets and four were returned.