Portable building may cost too much

January 26, 1995|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

County officials may have to reopen their search for a new site for the Carroll County Health Department because a plan to move the agency to South Center Street likely will be too expensive.

A move to a portable building on Carroll Community College property at 300 S. Center St. would cost almost $1 million more than county officials estimated.

The commissioners will study the Center Street plan further before making a decision, Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown said yesterday.

"This is something we inherited," he said. "I want to make sure we get full value for the money."

The previous board of commissioners agreed to the plan in April, saying it was the cheapest option. The board planned to move a portable building that Martin Marietta Corp. in Middle River gave the county and renovate it for office space.

A decision on the Health Department location must be made quickly because the department must be out of its building on Stone Avenue in about four months.

The county sold the building to Carroll County General Hospital last year.

The sales contract says the hospital takes possession of the building on June 1, hospital spokeswoman Gil Chamblin said.

The county received one bid to move and renovate the portable building, said Thomas Rio, chief of the county's building construction office.

The $3,375,000 bid came from the Frederick office of Waynesboro Construction Co. Inc.

Burton Associates Architects Inc. of Baltimore, hired by the county to work on the project, estimated the job would cost $2.4 million, Mr. Rio said.

The project would involve dismantling the 30,000-square-foot building in Middle River, moving it to Westminster, reassembling it and adding modular units totaling 5,760 square feet, he said.

The price probably came in higher because of two factors, he said. The storm water management requirements at the Center Street site were complicated and caused the request for bids to go out four months later than planned. The delay meant the county had to ask that the work be done quicker, which probably added to the price, Mr. Rio said.

Also, the county specified that the portable building be divided into small offices, which required that the heating and air-conditioning systems be directed into each office, which added to the cost, he said.

Public Works Director Keith R. Kirschnick said he will offer the commissioners at least three options to reduce the price.

It's possible the county could find places to save money in the Waynesboro Construction bid; the county could look into having a private company construct a building and lease it to the county; or the county could look for vacant office space, Mr. Kirschnick said.

Mr. Brown said he is concerned there would not be enough parking spaces at the Center Street site. The Carroll Community College Business and Industry Center also is there.

A Health Department spokesman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Martin Marietta gave the county three 30,000-square-foot portable buildings in March 1993. Last year, the county paid $25,000 for insurance, heating and security for the buildings, Mr. Rio said.

The previous board of commissioners had considered using the other two portable buildings for the Board of Education headquarters.

Last week, Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he would be against that.

"I'd prefer to do a permanent building," he said.

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