By Don Nelson
Construction bids for Twisp’s new civic building, originally scheduled to be opened this week, will now be opened on Feb. 24, and Public Works Director Andrew Denham said he expects around a half-dozen firms to bid.
Denham told the Twisp Town Council at its meeting last week that the bid opening was delayed to allow a firm that intends to submit a bit more time to develop an accurate proposal. Bid solicitations went out on Jan. 20. An online conference for prospective bidders was conducted on Feb. 3.
According to the bid documents, the cost of the project is estimated at $2,834,700. After the bids are opened, they will be reviewed over the following three weeks by Denham and Architects West, the Idaho-based firm that is designing the facility. If an acceptable bid is approved, the contract could be closed in early March and construction could begin this year.
This is 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. That caused construction on the project, which was expected to begin last summer, to be postponed to this year.
For most of the past year, Denham and his staff have been “value engineering” the building’s specs to bring costs down. The revised 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.
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.
In other business at last week’s meeting, Denham told the council that the bid documents for an expanded sports complex planned for a site near the Twisp Municipal Airport are nearly ready. The facility is being developed in conjunction with the Methow Valley School District.
The town of has been developing plans for the park for several years, with funding help from the state Recreation and Conservation Office. But construction bids twice exceeded the town’s budget for the project, which is to include a soccer field and baseball/softball fields.
Last year, the council endorsed a proposed partnership with the school district, which will chip in $65,000 toward the project’s cost.
Future phases of the sports complex – for now unfunded – may include another baseball/softball field, another soccer field, a tennis court, a basketball court, a playground, a concession stand and restrooms.
The council also appointed Josh Gewirtz to fill a vacancy of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Gewirtz has been actively involved in the development of several recreational trails in the valley over the past few years. The council also interviewed John Lindsey, and council members expressed gratitude that two qualified candidates sought the position.