Coon Rapids awards vehicle storage building contract

A Coon Rapids-based company has been awarded the contract for the construction of a vehicle storage building at the Coon Rapids City Center.

But the bid by Jorgenson Construction approved by the Coon Rapids City Council was not the lowest.

The low bid, which was submitted by Ebert Construction, was rejected by the council, on the recommendation of Public Services Director Steve Gatlin and project architect Edward J. Kodet Jr. of Kodet Architectural Group as being non-responsive.

Both bids came in well under the engineer’s estimate of $2,023,310 including two alternates.

Ebert’s low bid was $1,470,972, while Jorgenson’s bid that was accepted by the council was $1,528,300.

According to Gatlin, the problem with Ebert’s bid was that it did not comply with one of the specifications – that each bidder submit a list of references with its bid proposal of similar projects completed within the last three years.

Following the opening of the bids, the architect contacted Ebert to tell the company of its non-compliance, Gatlin said.

“They then submitted a list of references, but none were for projects completed within the last three years, he said.

After reviewing the bids with the city attorney’s office, Gatlin said it was determined that the bid received from Ebert Construction was non-responsive to the bid documents in that it did not comply with one of the specifications.

“The lack of this list does not allow us to review recently completed projects to determine the bidder’s ability to complete our project adequately,” he said.

In a letter to Gatlin, project architect Koder said Jorgenson was contacted and validated its bid.

Koder also completed reference checks on Jorgenson and the firm complied with all the specification requirements, Gatlin said.

A representative from Ebert Construction appeared before the council April 17, noting that its bid was more than $50,000 under Jorgenson’s.

He said the non-compliance with the specifications was due to clerical error.

According to Gatlin, the bid award included two alternates – one for an additional parking area and the second for an upgrade to the heating system.

The 20,000 square-foot building will provide covered storage for 54 police, fire, engineering, assessing and inspection vehicles which are now parked outdoors.

“The facility will increase operational efficiency and protect the vehicles from the weather,” Gatlin said.

According to Johnson, many city vehicles are “mobile offices,” given the equipment they have inside them and should not be left outside, especially in the winter months.

“This is a wise expenditure,” said Johnson, who described himself as “passionate” about the need for the vehicle storage facility.

In December 2011, the council was presented with two design alternatives for the new building, which will be constructed in the area behind the police department on the city center campus.

At that time, the council chose the building design option “based on required space needs to meet current requirements.”

In addition, storage space is provided for police and fire needs, while a small wash bay and mechanical room with an air compressor has been included, Gatlin said.

The building will be located along the existing southeast corner of the current parking lot and one row of parking spaces will be eliminated, he said.

The council set a $2.230 million budget for the project, including construction cost, architect fee and testing.

The project will not be funded from the property tax levy.

According to Gatlin, most of the cost will be paid for from existing dollars in the facilities construction fund which totals $1.5 million.

The balance will be taken from closed bond funds, money left over after the city has paid off bonds that it has issued that would normally be transferred to the facilities construction fund.

Gatlin hopes construction will start by May 1. The project will take six months with completion by Nov. 1, he said.

According to Gatlin, the annual cost to heat and light the building was estimated in the $36,000 to $44,000 range by the architect.

According to its website, Stanley Jorgenson, president of Jorgenson Construction, began the company in 1983 and moved to its present 10,000 square-foot office/warehouse facility on East River Road in Coon Rapids in 2004 after it had outgrown its previous Blaine location.

Peter Bodley is at