The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors authorized county officials to enter into negotiations with MB Contractors Inc. of Roanoke, the apparent low bidder in the competition to see who will win the contract to build the new Crozet library, at their meeting April 4. The adoption at the same meeting of a tax rate of 76.2 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value means the county budget will also fund construction.
MB Contractors bid $5,771,000, under the $6 million budgeted by Albemarle County for the project. Mathers Construction’s bid of $5,792,698 came in a close second and Nielson Builders’ bid of $5,857,397 ranked it third best. The highest bid set the cost at $6.91 million.
“The range in bids here is pretty tight,” said Trevor Henry of the county’s facilities management department, “which gives us confidence the contractor can deliver at that cost.”
Having the lowest bid does not necessarily mean the company has won the job. Its documentation must be examined to confirm that it meets the terms set by the county in detail. But county procurement director Hugh Gravitt said the bidding companies in this case are well-established firms and already bonded. “It’s pretty likely” MB Contractors will be awarded the job, he said. Henry said a contract should be signed in May and building should start July 1 when the new county budget becomes effective.
MB Contractors is currently building The Lodge at Old Trail in Crozet and has an impressive string of large-scale projects to its credit, including high schools around Roanoke, buildings at Virginia Tech and Radford and Hollins Universities, churches, hotels, wineries, medical offices, and athletic facilities.
Crozet library architect Melanie Hennigan of Grimm and Parker Architects in McLean said, “We’re delighted. We’re really happy for the citizens. You’ll be getting an amazing library for the money. It’s LEED [a standard for environmentally sustainable design] and it’s beautiful. It was a good bid. It was very tight. There was only a five percent variation across the bids.”
Gravitt said the bid request did not ask contractors to quote a price for a deeper excavation into the hillside of the site to enlarge the lower floor. He said the possibility will be raised after the contract is signed.
“Excavation is about dollars,” said Hennigan. “It can very cost-effective for the square footage you add.”
Hennigan said she had not heard of the idea of adding a right turn lane from Crozet Avenue onto Library Avenue in front of the library, an idea that would mean the library would have to be set back a few more feet. She said engineers would have to look at its feasibility.