LEWISBURG — Bids for a courthouse annex and renovation project submitted by two construction companies, both based in St. Albans, are now under review by the Greenbrier County Commission’s engineer and architect.

Under the terms of a bond issue approved in May, the county can borrow up to $15 million for the upgrades.

One of the bids opened Tuesday was $114,000 over that threshold, while the other was more than $2.35 million under the bond limit. Both bids also included unit pricing of materials and an alternate plan involving the sally port that early architectural drawings show being added to the daylight basement entrance at the back of the courthouse.

SQP Construction Group’s base bid for the project was $12,649,950. The base bid submitted by Paramount Builders, LLC, was $15,114,000. It was not immediately clear what, if any, impact the separate unit pricing and sally port alternate plan might have on the companies’ bid scores.

The county engineer and Sillings Architectects are expected to complete their reviews of the bids before the County Commission’s next meeting, clearing the way for a bid to be awarded as early as June 22, Commissioner Tammy Tincher announced at Tuesday’s session.

Commission President Lowell Rose posited that the scope of the project and the length of time it is likely to consume kept many construction companies that had expressed early interest in the job from bidding.

The existing courthouse contains 35,840 square feet, while the annex proposed in Sillings’ preliminary design contains 22,340 square feet, with the sallyport adding another 1,900. The annex will have its own elevator and will be attached to the northern end of the current courthouse.

Extensive remodeling of the courthouse is also part of the project.

The need for renovations was brought into sharp focus at Tuesday’s commission meeting, conducted in muggy basement quarters that presently have no air conditioning.

Rose explained that the HVAC system in the existing courthouse annex had exhibited problems last fall when it underwent the seasonal switch from air conditioning to heating. A pump drive was found to be in need of replacement, but no sooner was that process completed than another pump gave up the ghost. Parts for that old pump are no longer available, Rose said.

Commissioners are still trying to resolve the issue, which affects employees in several courthouse offices who were battling temperatures rising into the 80s Tuesday with a few open windows and strategically placed electric fans.

— Email: talvey@register-herald.com

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