Armory Square bidding delayed

Bid advertisement will be delayed for the next phase of the Armory Square renovation project, according to Marietta’s city engineer who addressed city council’s lands, buildings and parks committee Tuesday.

“Originally I had scheduled the bid opening for Sept. 16, with advertising for bids on Aug. 22, but obviously that has changed,” said engineer Joe Tucker. “Now we have to wait for federal authorization on our front end documents for the project. But I’m relatively confident that we’ll be able to put out our first bid advertisement by Sept. 5.”

The next phase of the project will include renovation of the armory’s ground floor so that portion of the facility can be opened for public use, a requirement for the city to be awarded a $252,397 federal Scenic Byways Grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“So the bottom line is that the city has everything ready to proceed, but we’re just waiting on the federal government to provide the necessary authorization,” said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs the lands, buildings and parks committee.

Tucker said he’s hoping the feds will OK the project documentation before the federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

He also recommended that council have a minimum of $200,000 in place so that construction can begin on the next phase after the federal authorization. Tucker noted the total base bid for the project is estimated at $417,000, and would likely increase to $450,000 for construction administration and potential contingencies.

Noland said the city may be able to save a substantial amount of money on the project by going to a forced air heating and air conditioning system instead of upgrading the current boiler heating system.

After contacting some HVAC professionals, at least one told Noland that a forced air system with air conditioning would cost around $50,000, while the boiler upgrade, including only one air-conditioned room, has been estimated to cost $190,000.

Tucker said he would require more information about that proposal before making a change in the current project plans.

Also on Tuesday, Tucker said the city hall renovation project would not be completed by Aug. 29 due to several last-minute issues, including preparations for moving some city departments into the building at 301 Putnam St.

“Realistically we’re probably looking at a target move-in date of Sept. 26,” he said. “That will be a major effort, and I’m requesting a meeting with all departments to address the logistics of the move.”

Tucker said office spaces would have to be cleaned and floors waxed, as well as preparations made for moving information technology equipment and phone systems. He said key cards for entry to the building and offices would also have to be distributed. The city auditor, treasurer and IT offices will be moved from their current location at 308 Putnam St. into the newly-renovated city hall. The city council clerk’s office will be moved into the 304 Putnam St. building.

Three utilities maintenance workers will also be moved out of 308 Putnam, but a location for those employees has not yet been determined.