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Update on county building projects

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 7:55 am


Owners’ Representative for Bedford County government construction projects, Jeff Sweeney, gave an update on at the last Financial Committee meeting on March 26 regarding some of the major county projects.

Final touches are being made at Cartwright Elementary, such as parking paving, striping the gym floor, finishing bathrooms and floors. Sweeney said after completion, teachers will have six weeks to move into classrooms before school starts in August.

He added that after meeting with representatives with Bell’s Construction, they were able to be in a position to reduce an additional $500,000 from the loan required.

“So that will be almost $1.6 million of debt reduction during the project,” said Sweeney. This includes a new emergency system that was not in the original budget at $76,000 and electrical components of $38,000 for new design needs for larger breaker types and sizing, according to Sweeney’s report.

Through this process and the working relationships they have with Bell’s, they have renegotiated their portion of the contingency share which exceeded $430,000 to $275,000. According to Sweeney’s report, this is a number that is set and will not be changed with future savings.

“We’re excited that the word’s getting out that we’re a lot more on site and cognizant of cost. We check costs weekly and I talked to several contractors throughout Middle Tennessee to get what they’re seeing. Right now is a good time to do construction and commercial because there’s a lot of new companies that have moved in,” said Sweeney, who added that they had 14 contractors show up for a pre-construction meeting for the Liberty School addition.

Of course, the more contractors, the more bids. The more bids, the more price comparisons are possible.

“Our job is to make sure we get what we paid for,” said Sweeney.

For the Thomas Magnet and Liberty School additions, the engineering and architect fees came in at $6.2 million. This is lower compared to the original budgeted $7.6 million that came from the hard bid.

“That’s the benefit. It requires a little more on-site time from me but we felt because of the size of the project is was beneficial,” said Sweeney.

“We combined those two projects as one to reduce costs and we did a hard-cost. Every project is different. So for Cartwright we did Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP), which we felt was the best scenario for us.

“Because these projects (Thomas and Liberty) are not huge projects, we hard-bid them,” Sweeney explained.

Construction for these started on March 19. Portables at Liberty were disconnected by Duck River Utilities and moved during spring break.

These projects are planned to be completed by the end of the year in December.

Tammy Garrett, Superintendent of Schools, added they are also installing sally ports for heightened safety in the schools. “Because we’re a fast-growing district, over 2%, we got some extra money, so we’re able to complete some of these capital projects we’re excited about,” said Garrett. These Fast-Growth District funds come from the State of Tennessee.

For the new juvenile detention center to be located at the Judicial Complex off of U.S. 231, Sweeney said they have finalized the plans and all the designs have been completed.

“We’ve taken 1200 square feet out of the original plan, which is roughly half a million dollars of cost,” said Sweeney.

He plans to give the Finance Committee a budget by mid-April to review. They will then put bids out in June and start construction by the end of July—that’s the goal, according to Sweeney.

Sweeney said it’s been a process that’s taken about six years so far. But completion is set for May 2025.

FY24-25 County budgets

Budget hearings with each department heads were held last week as well to present the estimated budgets of each of Bedford County Government’s departments.

And the two concepts that dominated the meeting were: the increase in cost of supplies and the need for more employees.

Estimated and proposed budgets were presented for the upcoming FY 2024-25. The final budget will approved by the commission in the summer.