Published 8:43 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

WINTON – A facelift is in order.

Hertford County’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved both a Capital Project Ordinance and selected an architectural firm to carry that out at their monthly meeting here on Monday.

Administration Office Building #1, located on King Street here, will be the offices of the county’s full Department of Social Services staff following the renovations and upgrades that will combine the current separate DSS office locations of Ahoskie and Winton by late 2016.

There were two options: one, for minimum cosmetic upgrades to the King St. building’s offices vacated by those County offices that have moved to the new Government Center with final improvements being to the north and south sides of the building.   The total estimate for that renovation option was $1,400,000.

The second option provided more efficiency, security, and access for the building, not to mention that at least 40 percent of the cost of the renovation would be eligible for federal cost share reimbursement, thus reducing its overall cost.

This option was recommended by the staff who supervised the preliminary work on the upgrade.

With a construction cost of $1,925,325; design fees and expenses totaling $254,143; $3,000 for materials, testing, and inspections; $192,532 in contingency, the cost estimate came to $2,375,000 following the feasibility study conducted over a year ago.   However, that figure now has risen to $2,525,000 according to JKF Architecture of Greenville.

“This is actually $150,000 over the estimated project budget presented to you at your last meeting with the only difference is that this (new estimate) includes furnishings and equipment,” said assistant County Manager Ray Wiggins, who has headed the project.

With no discussion the Commissioners approved the second option of the Capital Ordinance unanimously.

Additionally, JKF drafted an architectural agreement for design fees, plus expenses, of 12 percent which comprised the aforementioned $254,143.

“This fee sets out the detailed project budget,” Wiggins added.

Wiggins also presented a tentative project schedule:

Schematic Design (45 days) Aug 17 – Sept 30

AE Review (7 days) Oct 1 – Oct 7

Design Development (47 days) Oct 8 – Nov 23

Owner/Agency Review (7 days) Nov 24 – Nov 30

Construction Documents (45 days) Dec 1 – Jan 14, 2016

Owner/Agency Review (7 days) Jan 15 – Jan 21

CD Final (11 days) Jan 22 – Feb 1

Bidding (36 days) Feb 2 – Mar 8

Evalu./Award/Execution (14 days) Mar 9 – Mar 22

Construction (210 days) Mar 23 – Oct 18

Closeout/Occupancy (30 days) Oct 19 – Nov 17

While the Commissioners admitted the schedule was swift, if the March start-date is kept, the project called for completion in roughly seven months.

There was a question of keeping to the timeline with the moving of the Ahoskie offices coinciding with the renovation.

“Those discussions will certainly come into schematic design (45 days) and where you see owner/agency review and approval of certain phases in this timeline this is where we can talk about those things when we have these gentlemen (architects) before you,” clarified County Manager Loria Williams. “But, yes, that is something that needs to be built into this timeline.”

Williams added that avoiding a conflict of the two offices during move-renovation would be part of the priority discussion on the project timeline.

“These are just recommendations,” she said. “This is not something they are not aware of; so we’ll make sure that is built into the timeline.”

Williams cited an earlier temporary move where the Ahoskie DSS office had to re-locate to Winton while some mechanical issues were resolved.  The re-location was less than seven days.

“The difference would be short-term versus long-term and the impact of staff since 56 people is the number of (DSS) employees we have,” Williams related.  “But this (preliminary timeline) will have no bearing on how we use the existing side.”

Williams further said the 45 day schematic design window would be the time to discuss questions on staff displacement and how it factors into the renovation with the architects.

“These would be any questions as it relates to move and as it relates to how we currently use the facility, and having a dialogue with (them) on how disruptive (the move) is going to be,” Williams said.  “We need to have these conversations with a technical person.”

County Attorney Charles Revelle pointed out that there were no immediate answers to some of the Commissioners’ timeline concerns because there was no authorization for preliminary work until the agreement had been approved.

“The next important phase, as the County Manager discussed, is the design preparation and discussion with you of all these issues when the architect has had a chance to put these all together,” Revelle stated.

With discussion ended, the Commissioners then unanimously approved JKF Architecture for professional services associated with the full renovation of the County Administration Office Building #1.