It’s back to the drawing board for the Highland Public Safety Building, as the city council rejected all the bids for the project and has sent it back to the architect.
City manager Mark Latham said the city received 10 bids to construct the new building, which would house the police and fire departments adjacent to the current police station site.
“The cost came in much higher than anticipated,” Latham said.
The lowest bid was about $8.5 million, and the city wanted to keep the cost under $6.5 million. The primary reason for the expense was the basement they intended to put in, which would have required substantial changes to the site and increased civil engineering costs, Latham said. The basement alone added $285,000 to the bids, he said.
The city council voted Monday to reject all the bids for all the services, and referred the project back to the architect to redesign it without the basement.
“We are determined to get that building down to where we can afford it,” Latham said.
Police Chief Chris Conrad said they are hoping to move forward with rehabilitating the existing firehouse while making the necessary changes to the public safety building design.
“That’s a much simpler project because it is essentially a remodel and addition to the existing building,” Conrad said.
Latham said city leaders planned to meet with the architects by the end of this week.
“We’re pretty confident we’ll be able to make the necessary changes to the public safety building design to come in where we want to be financially and still have plenty of growth for all three departments, and the community will be proud of what is out there,” Conrad said.
COUNCIL APPROVES PERMITS FOR FLUGELFEST
In other news, the city approved permits for a new festival to take place on the town square Oct. 19. FlugelFest — which literally means “wings” in German — will have food, beer, live music, and a wing-eating contest, among other entertainments.