Two years after the Old County Home was razed, a bid to pave that site along with the other old portions of the County Complex was approved this week. The project will repair old, deteriorated asphalt as well as add to the parking inventory for hundreds of county employees.
The work will come with a price tag of $871,925, a bid by Blizzard Construction that was unanimously approved by the Sampson County Board of Commissioners following an arduous bidding process.
“This includes paving the area where the Old County Home was and doing extensive work in resurfacing a lot of the existing parking lots on the campus,” Finance officer David Clack said. “This was part of the Community Development Capital Project that was adopted by our previous board, and this would represent almost all of the remaining funds in that.”
Demolition of the Old County Home was approved in early 2015, a decision that came after much discussion on how to best dispose of the property, which had become infested with asbestos. County officials also eyed the site of the landmark off Rowan Road for more parking for the entire County Complex.
For decades, the Old County Home was the hub of county government activity, housing the Cooperative Extension Service, Department of Aging, Emergency Management, Head Start, Public Works, Soil Conservation and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (now the Farm Service Agency). However, in recent years leading up to its 2015 demolition, its vacant and dilapidated state made its destruction a safety necessity.
For the paving project, the Finance Office sent Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to 14 paving companies whose names were obtained from the N.C. Licensing Board of General Contractors. Seven contractors responded that the project was out of their service area, four were booked with other work and one had bonding issues, Finance officer David Clack said.
After only one bid was received by the bid opening, that bid — submitted by Highland Paving out of Fayetteville — was left sealed and the project re-bid, due to statutory mandates that a minimum number of bids be received. The second time around, 47 additional companies were contacted. Again, 36 stated the project was out of their service area, five were already booked and three informed the county they did not do asphalt paving.
Seventeen RFPs were again sent out and two bids were received — Blizzard Construction out of Beulaville, in the amount of $871,925 and Highland, in the amount of $1.05 million.
“There is not much work to be done over at the Human Services (building) — that is a newer parking lot,” Clack noted. “This is for all of the older, original parking lots and the empty lot that was created when we tore down the County Home building. We have such a parking problem over here right now.”
Commissioner Albert Kirby said it was a hefty price tag.
“That is a lot of money,” he stated. “We’re not talking about building houses. We’re talking about parking lots.”
Clack agreed, and conceded the price tag would likely not shrink from that amount if the county waits.
“It’s not getting any cheaper,” he said, noting the months in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. “I guess the storm hurt us a little bit, because it put a lot of paving companies to work. They couldn’t stop doing anything for us.”
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