No bids for animal shelter

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — Shelby County commissioners met, Tuesday, June 11, to open bids to construct a new animal shelter here, but the meeting didn’t go exactly according to plan.

No bids were submitted for the Bob Sargeant and Family Shelby County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center.

Architect John Freytag, of Freytag and Associates Inc., said nine contractors had attended a mandatory pre-bid meeting, May 29, and that his office took “lots of calls” after that meeting from contractors who had questions about the project.

“My guess is, it’s above the estimate, so, thinking (the bids) won’t be accepted, they held their bids,” he said.

He theorized that market forces have driven up the cost of materials, resulting in a prebid estimate of project costs that is too low for contractors to meet. In addition, “local contractors are all busy,” Freytag said. They have enough projects in process that they don’t need to bid on another one. A third factor that could have influenced the lack of response is the sore need in this area for construction workers. Contractors don’t have enough staff to take on all the projects they would like to.

Site work for the animal shelter was estimated to cost $333,150; general construction, $1,886,200; design and professional fees, $172,887; shelter planner’s fee, $30,000; plan approval review and printing, $7,500; and nonconstruction costs, such as utility installation fees, $18,885. There is an $80,650 contingency allowance making the total an estimate of $2,529,272. Not included in the estimate were communications equipment and furniture.

The Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation (SCARF) has been raising money for three years to pay for the shelter, which will increase the number of animals that can be housed by the county until they find “forever” homes, provide meeting space and upgrade health and safety measures for animals and staff. It is at 98 percent of its $2,400,000 goal. The organization had hoped to make up the difference in the cost with in-kind donations of some equipment and materials.

Siding for the project has already been donated.

Before the project can be rebid, SCARF will meet with architects, planners and shelter staff to look at options.

“The brain trust needs to sit down and talk next step. This is like the sixth game of the playoffs. We’re going to the seventh game. We either change something in the building or raise the estimate,” Freytag said.

Joe Laber, of SCARF, was not deterred.

“This is just a bump in the road,” he said. “God’s got this. This is happening for a reason. We will meet and go from there.”

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.