After the county Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to proceed in the process of building a new jail and juvenile transition center, County Administration has presented a proposed timeline of the project through 2015 to the Jail and Juvenile Transition Center Committee (JJTCC).
The county Board of Commissioners approved a resolution after much discussion on Tuesday, March 12. An article regarding that meeting can be found on page 3a.
County Administrator Bonnie Hammersley gave a presentation to the JJTCC on Thursday explaining how the next few years will go with regards to the new jail and juvenile transition center.
According to Hammersley, a request for proposals went out on Wednesday night and will be open for 21 days.
“This is a very aggressive schedule,” Hammersley said. “But it is a draft. We are recommending that we bond in 2013.”
Hammersley was referring to the short phases of the project. The conceptual design phase will only be eight weeks, ending on April 23. The design phase will run for about 6 months, through the end of October. The construction phase, which includes receiving bids for all the different aspects of the project will run from the end of October until August 2015.
The county will begin the process of bonds once the construction phase starts, since they want to wait and get exact numbers from different companies that will be doing the project.
Hammersley explained that the market is stable and in a good place, so that is her reasoning for bonding out in 2013.
“That’s why its really important to stay on task,” Hammersley said.
The county’s first task is to hire an architect and a construction manager. In three weeks when the application process closes for those positions, two separate committees will review the applications and make recommendations to the JJTCC.
Those on the committee to review the architect applications are County Commissioner Charles Nash, County Prosecutor DJ Hilson, Eric Stevens, circuit court administrator, and Mark Eisenbarth, director of Wastewater Management.
The group who will review the construction manager applications includes Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler, County Administrator Bonnie Hammersley, Linda Rensland, facilities project manager for Kent County, and Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops, with alternates from various jails in Michigan, if he cannot fill the position.
The construction manager will be in charge of the hiring process for contractors.
Jim Derezinski, county commissioner for District 7, asked if the county could become its own contractor, by hiring each specific person or group instead of having the construction manager do that. Hammersley said the county could do that if they wanted to.
Charles Nash, county commissioner for District 6, said that if the county decided to do that, it would lengthen the timeline, which is not what they want to do. He also expressed concern for micro-managing everything.
“This will hold the contractors feet to the fire,” Nash said, regarding having the construction manager hire his own people.
District 1 Commissioner Rillastine Wilkins expressed her concern for change orders when hiring contractors. She was concerned that a contractor would bid a price, but then change the price after they were hired.
Hammersley promised that all those specifics would be worked out in the contracts that would be signed, which won’t happen until the third phase.
“All the change orders will come across my desk before they are approved,” Hammersley said.
After a discussion was led by the committee, Nell Schaefer, who has been outspoken on her concerns about a new jail and juvenile transition center, asked the board what they plan to do with the jail in the meantime, before the new one is built.
“Unfortunately, I think the county has chosen to spend $41 million when there are still many reports of abuse and neglect in the current jail,” Schaefer said.
She continued that she has received complaints from inmates who have seen poor conditions, medical neglect and sexual assault.
“What are you going to do to ensure the immediate relief until a new jail is built?” Schaefer asked.
Nash assured her that all of those issues would be addressed.
The next step will be to wait until applications have been received for the architect and construction management positions. The special committees will review those applications and present their recommendations to the JJTCC at their meeting on April 18. The full board of commissioners will meet on April 23 to possibly accept the recommendations from the JJTCC regarding those positions.