Commission plans Fairhope Satellite expansion

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BAY MINETTE – Baldwin County commissioners are working to move forward with plans to complete more than 10,000 square feet of office space to the Fairhope Satellite Courthouse in areas built more than eight years ago.

The commission will vote Tuesday on a proposal to reject five bids and go out for new proposals to complete the interior of the second floor of the courthouse. “We received five,” Wanda Gautney, county purchasing director told commissioners at the work session last Tuesday. “Four were wrong. One was correct, and we didn’t feel like we had a good competitive price with just one bidder.”

County Commissioner Joe Davis, whose district includes Fairhope, said the project will allow more space for offices for the County Commission, Legislative Delegation and Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.

The commission began work in 2010 to expand satellite courthouses in Fairhope and Foley. The Fairhope facility had more than 22,000 square feet added to the first floor for use at the time. A second floor was also added as an incomplete shell with plans to complete the facility when the space was needed.

“Some have called it a renovation, but it’s not a renovation, it’s a completion after eight and a half years,” Davis said. “It’s been there all that time, but when they originally added it, they didn’t see a need to complete it at that time.”

Under the bid proposal, contractors will complete 13,500 square feet of space on the second floor above the west wing of the courthouse. The budgeted price of the work is $1.2 million, according to county reports.

Plans call for the addition of partitions and modifications to heating and air-conditioning duct work needed for the extra space. Fire suppression and electrical systems and other work are also included in the bid proposal. The plan does not require any exterior work at the courthouse or work on areas now in use.

Contractors will have until Aug. 5 to submit proposals if the plan is approved by the commission.

In 2009, county officials began work to added more than 19,000 square feet of space to the Foley Satellite Courthouse. That work was completed and no unfinished areas were left to be added later, according to reports.