District library board selects expansion contractor

By Adam Rollins, Record Staff Writer
Posted 1/8/17

Scenic Regional Library District has awarded contracts for all seven of its upcoming expansion projects throughout the district to Wright Construction out of St. Charles County. Wright Construction …

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District library board selects expansion contractor

Scenic Regional Library District has awarded contracts for all seven of its upcoming expansion projects throughout the district to Wright Construction out of St. Charles County.Wright Construction is a medium-sized firm with experience working on public projects, including schools in the Kirkwood and Hazelwood school districts, according to the library district. Contractors were allowed to bid on all or some of the projects, and the district received bids from 11 companies, according to the press release. Wright Construction was the low bidder on five out of the seven projects, but not the one in Warrenton, which is an addition to the existing library building.Wright Construction was the second lowest bid for Warrenton and an expansion in Pacific. Of the three companies that bid on all seven projects, Wright Construction had the lowest total bid by about $1.7 million.“The (Scenic Regional) Library Board also thought it would be beneficial to work with a single general contractor,” library officials said.Based on a bid summary provided by the library district, Wright Construction bid $1.6 million to complete the Warrenton expansion and $1.8 million to construct an entirely new branch location in Wright City.The total bid from Wright Construction on all seven projects was about $12.6 million. On paper, that’s about $65,000 more than if the district had accepted the low bids for Warrenton and Pacific.The district also stated that even at the lowest bids, the projects were still over budget by about $1.3 million. Officials attributed the high bids to rising costs that have gone up significantly over the last few years.However, the district expects that contracting with one company for all the projects will reduce the costs by enabling the same group of subcontractors to work on all seven facilities. The rest of the project deficit will be covered by using less expensive materials than originally planned and tapping the library district’s reserve fund, the press release states.Those construction costs also don’t include up to $1 million budgeted for new equipment and furniture, and $971,000 for architectural and engineering fees, according to the press release.The Warrenton and Wright City branch projects are expected to begin in September, and could take eight to 10 months to complete.Ian Hagan, a project manager with T.S. Banze Construction based in Foristell, expressed frustration with how Scenic Regional Library handled the bidding process for the projects.T.S. Banze was the low bidder on the Warrenton branch expansion with $1.55 million. It also had the second-lowest bid for Wright City that was $23,000 higher that Wright Constructin’s. Hagan said it was strange that the library district would award the seven projects as a collective after sending them out for bids as separate items.“They’re excluding the smaller companies that can’t bid all seven, even though that’s how (the library district) bid it,” he said. “If they wanted one company to do all seven, that’s how they should have bid, as one lump.”Hagan said it was disappointing T.S. Banze didn’t get the project in Warrenton, considering the company does a lot of work in the community and regularly employs local subcontractors.

An expansion of the Scenic Regional Library in Warrenton will begin in September. Record photo.