Bids proved vindication for Utilities building

THERE HAD TO BE a satisfying feeling of vindication for some as bids were opened last week for construction of the new Plymouth Utilities Operations Center.

Eight different construction firms bid on the project, with the bids ranging from just over $5 million to $5.3 million — a pretty consistent and compact bidding pattern for a project of this size.

All of the bids for the 49,608-square foot Plymouth Utilities headquarters building, to be located at the intersection of South Street and County PP, were more than 20 percent less than the cost that the architects, Bray Associates, had projected for the project. They had estimated that the building would cost around $6.5 million, but hoped that the bids would come in lower in the light of the current depressed construction industry.

That hope was realized, and then some.

For the dedicated members of the Plymouth Utilities Building Committee, who put in several years of long, involved study and discussion of this project, it had to feel especially sweet.

They originally developed a plan expected to cost around $8 million to meet what they felt were the legitimate needs of the Plymouth Utilities, only to be told by City Council members and others that the price tag was too steep, that cuts needed to be made.

Some on the council seemed to want to start the process all over from square one, looking for a bare bones building that would barely meet current needs and leave no room for future expansion. They seemingly questioned everything that the building committee had developed over several long, hard years.

The committee and Plymouth Utilities officials worked hard to pare the proposal down while still meeting the legitimate needs of the utilities and making the building an energy smart and efficient facility — which obviously should have been a major priority.

That the committee members did their work, and did it right, is evidenced by the fact that the bids came in at a number several council members said they wanted to see.

And best of all, Plymouth Utilities will get the building they need to provide efficient, cost-effective service to their growing customer base, one that will offer the chance for operational savings that can be passed on to their customers.

At issue: Something or other
Bottom line: Do something about it

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