New building to house property appraiser, tax collector offices

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County Commissioners Thursday authorized the advertising of a new Request for Qualifications for professional services for the design of the Proposed Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, and Driver’s License Building and design of the building to support the agencies for a minimum of 20 years.

Capital projects director Donnie Oden explained the background for those attending the meeting and watching online.

On Dec, 16, 2011 Okeechobee County solicited for Architectural Consulting Services for the Proposed Okeechobee County Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Driver’s License Building, RFQ #2011-23, he explained.

On Jan. 24, 2012, the county received proposals from 15 qualified firms. The county administrator appointed a Professional Services Selection Committee (PSSC) and out of the fifteen (15) submittals; the six highest ranked consultants were approved by the board and gave presentations to the Selection Committee. Chastain Skillman, Incorporated was the highest ranked firm chosen for Architectural Consulting Services and a contract was negotiated with the firm for $149,700.

Bids were received on Aug. 23, 2013 for the proposed PATCDL facility. Eleven bids were received with values ranging from $2,096,800 to $2,807,267 and the five lowest bidders were within two percent of each other. However, due to the economy, the board decided that it was not in the best interest of the county to construct the facility at that time.

“The board has directed staff to proceed with the construction of the PATCDL project and to relocate the facility to a new location. We contacted Chastain Skillman with the intent of using their civil engineering and architectural services to update the plans to the current building codes and, redesign the building site at a new location,” he continued.

“We determined the construction documents originally provided by Chastain Skillman, Inc. would require updates to meet current building code changes. During our inquiry, we learned that Chastain Skillman had gone through the process of reorganizing their firm due to the economy closing their Sebring office and no longer providing architectural services.

“After attempting to find an architect to update our original drawings, we concluded that the successor of our original architect would be required to recreate all aspects of the original design to assume the building’s liability. Working with Chastain Skillman and two separate architects, it was determined that the cost to recreate the design drawings cost as much or, exceeded the original costs.

“Staff met with the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser to discuss what their current needs are as opposed to what their needs were five years ago. Based on the information they provided, the Tax Collector indicated that each time the state appointed a new license or permit, specific building guidelines were also introduced. As an example, the Consent to Carry Permits now require separation from other public services, which was not accounted for in the original design. In addition, according to the Property Appraiser, if the construction of residential and commercial buildings continues to increase, they will require additional Field Appraisers.

“Staff has considered the above referenced information and in conclusion would recommend that it would be in the county’s best interest to submit a new Request for Qualifications for professional services for the design of the Proposed Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, and Driver’s License Building and design the building to support the agencies for a minimum of 20 years,” he said.

The county administrator recommends the commissioners authorize staff to advertise for a new Request for Qualifications for Professional Services for the design of the PATCDL, he said. There are currently budgeted within FY17/18 Capital Projects Fund, $150,000 for professional services and $2,300,000 for construction.

The price of construction in this current economy will most likely be higher than bids from five years ago; an estimated cost of $200 per square foot for a 12,000 – 15,000 sq. ft building values range from $2,400,000 to $3,000,000. Additional funds will be needed above the current budget if the actual square footage increases above 12,000 sq. ft and if the actual bids come in at or above the estimated square foot price.

In addition, the professional services costs could also increase depending on the cost of the building. Based on the Design Professional Fee Guidelines provided by the State of Florida Department of Management Services for Architectural and Engineering Services, the costs can range from 8 to 9 percent of the construction value.

“None of us like what we are doing here, but it’s the cost of doing business,” said Commissioner David Hazellief. He said this building is needed.

Commissioner Bryant Culpepper said the county should consider a building with more than one story.

In other business at the Dec. 28 meeting:

• Commissioners approved a change order to the contract with Seminole Design-Build, Inc. in the amount of $2,576.63 for unanticipated additional work to the Public Safety Complex Parking Lot Expansion for items discovered during the construction project and 42 additional days to contract time for rain delays, additional work and material delay (storm related).

• The board approved a change to the contract with Abney Building & Consulting, Inc. in the amount of $19,303.66 to furnish and install HVLS fans, controller, anemometer and electric at the C. Scott Driver Pavilion construction project and approve 60 additional calendar days to the contract time for material delay (due to Hurricane Irma) and 30 calendar days for the installation of fans.

• Commissioners rejected all bids received for Agri-Civic Center additions to Horse Arena Project Bid No. 2017-15 and authorized county staff to revise and reduce the scope of work and re-bid the project.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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