LANCASTER — The cost to renovate a building at 12941 Stonecreek Drive NW on the Ohio University Pickerington campus to house some Fairfield County offices may increase by $600,000 from the original estimate of $1.2 million.
“We’re all frustrated by that,” commissioner Steve Davis said. “By the same token, we’re experiencing what other people are experiencing right now. It’s hard to get contractors that have time right now. We only got one bidder on that project. Material prices are going crazy. So you have kind of perfect storm right now of a very, very tight contractor supply, a labor supply and material prices that are spiraling upward quickly.”
The county plans to close on the $2.75 million purchase this fall. In the meantime, it has a use agreement with OU on the property.
The county will rebid the project for $1.8 million after an architect originally valued the work at $1.2 million. The new bids are due back on May 20. The only bid the county originally received was for a little more than $2 million. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits and municipality from rewarding a bid of more than 10% over the estimated cost.
The county wants to renovate two 15,000-square feet buildings, but is only concerned with one building now. That building will house a sheriff substation relocated from downtown Pickerington and the county will move its title office from Hill Road in Pickerington to the OUP property. County facilities manager Dennis Keller said the state motor vehicle agency may eventually also rent space from the county there.
The sheriff’s office also has a substation in the Franklin County portion of Canal Winchester. It will remain there and not be affected in any way by the Pickerington substation’s move.
Keller said the county has made a few adjustments to the renovation plan regarding materials and such to lower the price.
“But there’s not a whole lot we could do that we found,” he said. “It’s just market conditions, I guess.”
Keller said he hopes the new $1.8 million price tag will attract bids the county can use. He said the sheriff’s office is already moving into the building because its part needed very little renovation. The majority of the renovation will be for the part the title office will occupy.
Time is of the essence since the title office must relocate by Jan. 1 because of its current lease agreement.
“It is,” Keller said. “We need to get good bids this time around and get it awarded and hopefully get the contractor started the first week of June. That will still give us six months to do the renovation.”
As for OUP classes, OU media relations manager Jim Sabin said the school is working with the Pickerington Local School District to find a location for them.
Keller said the county will worry about renovating the second OUP building once the first one is complete.