MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Commissioners opened two bids for the forthcoming Knox County Service Center Maintenance Facility on Thursday. In other action, commissioners Teresa Bemiller, Thom Collier and Bill Pursel approved signing over the deed to the Knox County Humane Society property (KCHS-Cats) so that the cat shelter can own the property under which its KCHS-Cats owned building sits, thus allowing for building expansion.
Just two bids were received for the county maintenance facility, which will house county equipment such as riding mowers, snowplows, and at night, maintenance vehicles. The first bid opened and read by Bemiller, from Wolf Creek Contracting Co. LLC of Waterford, was a base bid of $688,918, with an alternate bid of $144,264 for a carport.
The second bid from Modern Builders of Mount Vernon was a base bid of $580,200, and an alternate bid of $61,460 for the carport. The architect’s estimate, provided by MS Consultants of Columbus, was a base bid of $575,300, and an alternate bid of $64,362 for the carport.
A representative from MS Consultants noted that Modern Builders has a built-in advantage for bidding because they are Mount Vernon-based, which would save on items such as transportation costs, and because they are already using subcontractors just across Chestnut Street where the former Central School is being renovated by Modern Builders. Its workers can, in effect, work on both projects at the same time, he said. The Central School project, with a total pricetag of about $4 million, is set to become by next year the new home of the Knox County Board of Elections and the county Veterans Service Office.
The new county maintenance building, which should be completed before the end of the year, will be 1,700 square feet in size, and 16 feet high at the eaves with a pitched roof. The project is located within the city of Mount Vernon and has received approval from the city’s Historical Review Commission. It will have three bay doors facing Knox County Service Center, and two more on its opposite side.
MS Consultants reviewed the project bid and offered that everything appears to be in order, with commissioners requesting an expedited review process so the project can be completed during the fall. They directed the consultant to provide a recommendation letter of bid acceptance, with plans to approve it next Tuesday so the project can proceed.
After several months of anticipation and waiting, commissioners also approved signing over the deed to the county property at 400 Columbus Road, where the Knox County Humane Society cat shelter (KCHS-Cats) is located. The property is less than 1 acre at 0.76 acres, and there is one small storage building and two kennels that will have to be moved onto the now Humane Society-owned property. The long wait had occurred because of a backlog of surveying projects needing to be done, county administrator Jason Booth said.
The Knox County Humane Society already owns its building, so property ownership will allow them to expand, with those plans to include a larger lobby area. They had been paying $1 a year to commissioners to lease the site, which also provides low-cost services to both dogs and cats in addition to being the main shelter where cat adoptions occur. The Humane Society already has its own driveway; previously, those driving into the shelter parking lot had to take an entry point that went onto property owned by the county engineer’s office. The Humane Society, which is non-profit, will need to apply to the county auditor to receive property tax-exempt status, Collier said.