In less than two years from now, a new state-of-the-art city/county government center is expected to be completed in downtown Thomson.
A major step was taken in that direction during Tuesday night's McDuffie County Board of Commissioners meeting when commissioners selected an at-risk management construction firm.
With unanimous approval from commissioners, R.W. Allen, LLC, of Athens, Ga., was selected to oversee the project. The new city/county government center, which will cost about $15 million, will be built in the area of Greenway and Railroad streets and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010, according to Scott Clark, president of R.W. Allen, LLC.
Pre-construction plans are expected to begin in two to three weeks, Mr. Clark told The McDuffie Mirror. Such plans will include creating a budget as the design phase moves forward, he added.
"We're delighted to have been chosen for the project," Mr. Clark said. "We're looking forward to it."
One of the project managers with the firm chosen to do the work lives in Thomson. He is Tommy Goodyear.
R.W. Allen, LLC, won out over two other firms for the project. Those two firms were Turner Construction Company and Winter Construction, both of Atlanta. Allen came in with the lowest total fixed fee for the project at slightly more than $782,000 - a difference of $545,000 from the Turner Construction, which had the highest asking price.
A fourth firm, Batson-Cook Company, of West Point, Ga., decided not to respond to a request for a meeting with Jud Bryant, program manager, and representatives from the other three firms. A representative with Batson-Cook Co., R. Randall Hall, responded in a letter, saying "We believe the latest development in the selection process to be contrary to the principals of fairness and best practice set forth by the Associated General Contractors of America and the Construction Industry."
Mr. Bryant met with representatives of the other firms in an attempt to negotiate with them lower fees concerning general conditions, as were stipulated in the proposals among the final four contracting firms. Commissioners had requested that Mr. Bryant meet with these firms to negotiate lower fees.
McDuffie County Commissioner Frederick Favors, who has served as chairman of the city/county government center steering committee since its inception, made the motion that R.W. Allen, LLC be selected. It was seconded by Commissioner Paul McCorkle, who commended both Mr. Favors and Mr. Bryant for their "excellent" involvement on the city/county government center.
Commissioner Bill Jopling said it is the responsibility of commissioners to watch over the dollars of taxpayers and he believes that was done at the latest commission meeting.
Commission Vice-Chairman Sammie Wilson, Sr., also said he was pleased with the selection of R.W. Allen, LLC.
"They stayed on top of the job," Mr. Wilson said, referring to when the firm completed a construction project at the McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson.