Hays County Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe (D-San Marcos) and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) at last week’s meeting of the Hays County Commissioners Court. Photo by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
Hays County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to contract with Balfour Beatty for design and construction of a 233,600 square-foot government building complex.
The government center contract stipulates that Hays County will pay Balfour Beatty, a UK-based, international corporation, no more than $58,288,337.
Because the government center steering committee anticipates about $15,667,000 in additional costs outside the design-build team’s scope of work, the total estimated project cost is about $73,955,337.
The government center, the construction of which is expected to begin in March 2010, will be the largest and most costly building construction project ever attempted by the county and will house most county offices. It is expected that the government center will be completed near Wonder World Drive and Old Stagecoach Trail sometime in 2011.
The biggest decision the county has to make before construction begins is where to set the guaranteed maximum price (GMP). The county will offer Balfour Beatty a percentage of the difference between the GMP and the actual cost of the project, thereby providing the firm with an incentive to save the county money.
Hays County Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe (D-San Marcos) said Tuesday that the GMP will “most likely” not be negotiated until February.
“We still feel very confident that it will be at that $58 million or lower,” Ingalsbe said Tuesday. “I think there’s opportunity for it to go lower. I do not believe that it will go above that.”
Government Center project architecture firm HDR is meeting with county department heads to make sure their design matches the individual needs of the county’s offices. At the kickoff meeting on Monday, representatives from HDR mentioned their desire to collaborate with Texas State University’s School of Art and Design on a mural for the government center. The mural would reflect the local character and history of Hays County.
The county might be able to bring the project cost down to $71.4 million if it pays project manager firm Broaddus and Associates out of the operating budget instead of from project funds. At $71.4 million with 4.75 percent interest, the annual payment on the government center would be $4,780,290, just higher than the $4.5 million annually budgeted for county building improvements.
Hays County Auditor Bill Herzog said last month that although the county is expecting to get a 4.75 percent interest rate, today’s market would fetch a rate between four and 4.5 percent. At four percent, the county’s annual debt service for the government center project would be $4.4 million.
The government center will likely house six district courts, three county court at law courts, one justice of the peace court, a law library, and the offices for adult probation, compliance, Precinct 1 constable, district attorney, juvenile probation, district clerk, auditor, county clerk, elections, human resources, information technology, tax assessor, treasurer and veterans affairs.
Hays County commissioners unanimously voted in October to design-build team Balfour Beatty and HDR over two other teams. Balfour Beatty/HDR proposed a project costing $58,288,339.
Design-build team Satterfield & Pontikes Construction and HOK offered a conceptual design entailing an estimated total project cost of $78,123,343. Skanska Group, Kirksey and Goetting & Associates, proposed two design options entailing estimated total project costs of $74,990,740 and $74,415,590, respectively.Email | Print