Higher than expected bids to construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center may put the project in limbo.
“The lowest bidder that was open and read was Grunloh Builders, which came in at $16,019,000,” said Effingham Park District President David McDevitt. “The problem is Grunloh Builders was submitted at 2:05 p.m. There is no official decision yet, but according to builder’s specifications, any bid received late shall not be considered.”
The deadline to submit bids was 2 p.m.
The second lowest bid was submitted on time by Poettker Construction Company, located in Breese, in the amount of $16,342,000.
The park district set a budget of $12.5 million for the project, consisting of $5 million donated by Richard and Angie Workman, nearly $3 million in local donations and $4.5 million from the sale of general obligation bonds by the park district.
“We don’t know what we are doing, but this project isn’t dead,” said McDevitt. “We are not going to award any of the bids as they exist now. We will be working with the low bidder to reduce cost and explore other options.”
McDevitt said rebidding the project would be cost prohibitive because of the amount of plans and bid specifications that went into seeking bids for the project. Rebidding the project would also delay the start date for construction. He added that the park district will consult its architect, Holabird and Root, based out of Chicago. The lead architect on the project is Greg Grunloh, who is related to owners of Grunloh Builders.
“We are working with the architect to find ways to reduce cost,” said McDevitt, noting that they cannot ask a contractor to lower its bid, but they can lower material costs for the project. “We are looking to lower the cost and raise more money.”
McDevitt said he would like to award the bid to a local construction company but is concerned that would put the park district in a vulnerable position.
“We are bound by the contract documents, and everyone is playing by the same rules,” said McDevitt. “I’d love to award the bid to a local company but we are bound by the lowest responsible and qualified bid.”
The park district has 45 days to decide if it will award one of the bids.
Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at email@example.com or on Twitter @EDNthuffman.