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Bids less than architect's estimate

Construction companies say they can build an emergency homeless shelter for less than what the architect estimated. If Fargo commissioners approve the bids opened Wednesday at City Hall, they could agree to spend $240,000 to $300,000 on the shelt...

Coates

Construction companies say they can build an emergency homeless shelter for less than what the architect estimated.

If Fargo commissioners approve the bids opened Wednesday at City Hall, they could agree to spend $240,000 to $300,000 on the shelter, said Dan Mahli, a Fargo senior planner.

Foss Architecture & Interiors estimated a $344,455 cost to turn part of a building at 1519 1st Ave. S. into a drop-in shelter.

Mahli plans to meet with Foss Architecture today to examine the bids and form a recommendation.

Commissioners are expected to consider the issue Monday.

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"If the commission decides to award the shelter bids, we hope we can get it done as soon as we can," Mahli said.

The rest of the building would house the city detox shelter.

Bids for a new detox center were $385,000 to $400,000, higher than the estimate of $369,645, Mahli said.

The detox center was included with shelter construction plans because it's outgrowing its space at 123 15th St. N.

City officials now speak of a new detox center as a second phase.

Architects and contractors said the more complicated construction of the detox center couldn't be completed by winter, Commissioner Linda Coates said.

Bidders were asked to split the project into two phases. Most general contractors offered to complete the shelter in January and the detox center in late May or June.

Combined, the lowest general construction, electrical and mechanical bids totaled about $686,500, said Bob Ames of Foss Architecture.

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That's less than the architects' overall estimate of $784,400.

The architects' estimate and bids are higher than an informal $260,000 figure the city considered when commissioners bought the building in May.

Coates said the increase came as shelter planners honed in on specialized construction the detox center would need, such impermeable surfaces and separate plumbing and ventilation for each room.

"What you're creating is a detention facility," Coates said.

The two phases are expected to be paid for with different sources of city money, though neither will come from general tax dollars, she said.

The shelter will come from Community Development Block Grant dollars, while the detox center could be considered a capital expense that would be paid for with administrative fees from construction projects, Coates said.

"That will be a capital expense just like the roof of the central garage," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556 Bids less than architect's estimate Andrea Domaskin 20071018

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