Bids higher than expected for Old Court House work

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003

[7/15/03]Roofing and exterior renovations needed at the old Warren County courthouse could cost much more than expected, bids opened Monday indicated.

The offers ranged from $919,800 to $1.2 million, while supervisors had allocated approximately $624,764 to cover the cost.

“We’ll review the bids and try to determine what in the project caused the unexpected overruns,” said District 5 Supervisor Richard George, board president, adding that “it could be that we will have to retreat back to” simply reroofing the structure.

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The courthouse, located directly across Cherry Street from the existing courthouse, houses the Old Court House Museum, which is operated by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society. The structure dates to 1860 and has a National Landmark designation, but has been damaged by years of roof leaks, storm damage and failing stucco on its exterior.

Supervisors and Al Hopton, the architect for the project, will review the bids with an eye toward cutting prices, George said. Hopton also served as the architect for reroofing and the third-floor addition to the county jail, which was completed last year.

As opened Monday, bids were $919,800 from Billy E. Burnett Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., $1,033,250 from Mayrant and Associates LLC of Jackson and $1,204,000 from Coleman Hammons Construction Co. Inc. of Brandon. Mayrant had the jail contract.

The amounts do not include costs for asbestos-removal, stucco work on a sidewalk retaining wall or cleaning, painting of the building’s cupola, repairing a brick sidewalk retaining wall or installing drains through sidewalk retaining walls.

Of the project’s originally estimated cost, 55 percent was to be funded with casino-tax dollars, 38 percent with a grant from the state Department of Archives and History and 8 percent from the county’s general fund.

The board voted unanimously to take the bids under advisement.

In other matters, the board:

Approved purchasing under a sole-source provision $4,500 in imaging and indexing software for board minutes. The request was presented by purchasing agent Tonga Vinson.

Approved the claims docket and minutes of the Warren County Bridge Commission.

Deferred action on a Warren County Port Commission request to expedite the proposed sale of Falco Lime Inc., which is to be acquired by Mississippi Lime Co. The board must wait to grant the request, presented by attorney Lee Thames, for further action on it by the commission, which could come as early as Monday, board president Richard George said.

Reappointed Warren County Airport Authority member Michael Waring for another five years in that role.

Voted to recess until 9 a.m. Monday.