There will be another delay in the completion of the Mound House project due to Town Council's rejection of high price bids in the Mound House Restoration Project II.
Work on the interior restoration of the house itself -including structural remediation, ADA accessibility upgrades (new shaft way life, means of egress upgrades, power upgrades), limited fire-sprinkling protection with fire alarm, demountable tensile fabric exterior opening protective system, reconstruction and restoration of historical architectural components, coordination with planned exhibit displays and interpretive signage, site lighting and other general renovations- was expected to be completed by year's end.
Only three bidders responded to the bid request. Submittals were opened on Oct. 10 and were reviewed by Town Public Works Director Cathie Lewis, Town Attorney Marilyn Miller and a hired Town consultant. The lowest base bid price received was more than 36 percent above the Town consultant's cost estimate.
"Due to a lot of issues, including price, we feel it is in the Town's best interest to reject the bids and look at another alternative to bring back, which we hope will allow us to have more successful bidders," said Lewis.
According to Town documents, the consultant's base bid estimation for the work came in at $225,000 and, with alternative additions, totaled $564,000. The lowest bidder offered a $359,465 base bid and a $673,070 total with additions.
It was also determined that two of the three bidders, including the lowest bidder, possessed "irregularities" with their qualification information. The third bidder's pricing was called "way out of (Town) budget." Due to the nature of the historic restoration, contractor/subcontractors had to fill out a comprehensive qualification questionnaire citing project examples and references.
'There are discrepancies within their bids that has caused our Town attorney to have concerns about their bids," said Lewis.
Another bid process with tweaks is expected soon. Town staff and attorney have been reevaluating the process and project delivery method to hopefully allow bidders to provide bids that are more in line with the consultant's estimate. Noted Fort Myers historic restoration contractors may be sought.
"In the current bidding, we didn't have a direct purchase option. That may bring the price down somewhat," said Miller. Current bidders also asked to back out certain items within the work's scope.
The new bidding process is expected to be back on the streets during the early part of December. Thirty days are needed for response and at least two weeks are needed for evaluation with possibly 30 more days to be placed in front of Council again.
'You are talking about four months to get it to you for your approval," said Town Manager Town Terry Stewart.