Supervisors choose new courthouse contractor

T-R PHOTO BY TREVOR BABCOCK Marshall County Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke broke down the liquidated damages included in a new contract between the county and First Onsite during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The company is the general contractor for the courthouse renovation project, which has experienced numerous setbacks and delays.

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors approved offering a contract to Breiholz Construction of Des Moines as the new general contractor and construction manager of the Marshall County Courthouse project at the regular Tuesday meeting.

Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke said Breiholz specializes with historic restoration projects, and were already on site as a subcontractor of the courthouse.

“They’re a good option,” he said.

Baedke and Auditor Nan Benson told the supervisors there were four candidates interviewed for the position, and all of them had questions about the financial aspects.

“Everyone is concerned about what the financials look like, what is actually there,” Baedke said. “We need to define that line and double check it. We all need to come together on that and it’s going to take some time to work that out.”

He estimates it will take four to five weeks to sort out the finances. However, Baedke said he would love to see the chosen contractor begin immediately, rather than establishing a timeline.

“We did stress that for everyone,” he said.

“And they all committed to that,” Benson said. “They said they could be here Monday starting the work without a contract. Now that’s a handshake-type situation, but they were all willing to do that. They understood the urgency of getting us proceeding forward.”

The second candidate was DCI Group of Des Moines, which is a construction management firm. Baedke said they were the most prepared for the interview.

Two things Baedke wanted to determine with each candidate was a timeline and resources available since it is the middle of the construction season. He also wanted to know their upfront fees, which Baedke said were wide-ranging. DCI had the highest starting fee of $470,000. The same fee from Breiholz is $85,000.

The third contractor is Story Construction of Ames, which Baedke said is the largest federal contractor in the state. He said this company showed the most hesitancy in taking on the courthouse project, as there are a lot of moving parts.

“It wasn’t ‘We don’t want to do this job,'” Baedke said. “It was more like, ‘This is going to be a meticulous process.'”

The fourth candidate was Henkel Construction of Ames which is the company renovating the Annex building.

“I will say I personally have the most hesitancy with Henkel,” Baedke said. “They are still deep in the Annex trying to get that wrapped up there. I’m a little worried about how that project and this project will go together.”

Benson said whoever gets the courthouse project will need to run hard right away, and the Annex is not scheduled to be done for another three weeks.

Supervisor Dave Thompson ended the discussion on Tuesday by giving praise to the subcontractors who have continued to work after the contract with First Onsite was not renewed at the end of July.

There were numerous delays and damages incurred to the project, which has been ongoing since July 2018 with First Onsite at the helm.

General contractor First Onsite declined to sign an updated contract with the county which had liquidated damages. Liquidated damages represent what it costs the county each day for the courthouse renovation to continue. It would help with the expenses incurred due to the failure of the contractor to meet deadlines or damages caused. During a July 9 board of supervisors meeting, the county determined the contractor should be responsible for $3,000 in liquidated damages per day.


Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today