Plan is to break ground this year
The Town of Twisp will ask for construction bids for a new civic building and communications center in January.
It will be the second time the town has put the building out to bid. In May 2020, construction bids for the new building came in about $1 million higher than the $3 million cost estimated by Architects West, the Idaho-based firm that is designing the facility. That caused construction on the project, which was expected to begin last summer, to be postponed to 2021.
Since May, Public Works Director Andrew Denham has been “value engineering” the building’s specs to bring costs down. At its meeting last week, the Town Council heard an update on revised plans for the building, which were characterized as at the 95% completion level by the architects.
The plans call for a smaller “footprint” for the building, reduced costs from changing specifications for some materials such as carpeting and flooring, and a reconfiguration of space allotted to town departments and the Town Council chambers.
Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said a civic building committee consisting of staff and council representatives had spent a considerable amount of time going over the plans to look for cost-cutting opportunities. Councilmember Hans Smith said the result is “a good value alternative” to the previous design.
Denham said the bid document, scheduled to go out Jan. 20, will include “deduct alternatives” in case bids again come in at more than the town can afford. At that point, the building’s design will be 100% completed. “We could still proceed with the contract,” he said. Construction would begin this year.
Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said the 100% design specs will “look essentially like the 95% we have seen tonight.” The building includes a lobby, administrative offices for the police department, mayor and other town staff, and a council meeting space that can also be used for other gatherings.
The new building will be constructed at the site of the existing town hall, which will be demolished. In addition to housing town administrative offices and police headquarters, the civic building is also being designed to serve as an emergency operations center for the valley. Several state appropriations are covering the cost of the building. Some of the state money will cover the estimated $150,000 cost of demolishing the existing building.
In other business, the council approved an agreement with the state Department of Commerce for a $900,000 Community Development Block Grant to support upgrades of the town’s wastewater management system. The council also renewed its contractual agreement with Town Attorney Scott DeTro.