Bids are in for
turning the old jail building at 157 Franklin in downtown Valparaiso into a
new County annex building. Construction is planned to start tomorrow and to
conclude in March 2020.
The Porter County
Board of Commissioners approved contracts with the lowest responsible and
responsive bidders in eight bid categories, as determined by the County’s
construction management firm, Skillman Corp., at its regular meeting
companies were choosen from a field of 26 bidders: Pangere Corp., $1,217,000
for general trades; E.C. Babilla, $210,124 for roofing; Stan’s Painting,
$122,260 for painting; Midwest Tile & Interiors, $221,330 for flooring;
State Line Fire Protection, $92,209 for fire services; Circle R Mechanical,
$190,007 for plumbing; Steven’s Engineering, $1,400,000 for mechanical; and
Continental Electric, $1,139,300 for electric.
The project is the
final step in the Board’s $30 million capital improvements plan, according
to Board President Jeff Good, R-Center. The County bought the building back
from a private owner in April 2018 with the promise of moving several County
offices into it to ease space constraints at other buildings.
Good said the top
floor of the new annex will be dedicated to an updated 911 Center, since 911
has been sharing space with the Sheriff’s Department. The Prosecutor’s
office will move into the third floor. Adult probation will move to the
second floor. The Prosecutor’s Child Support division, currently housed in a
temporary space on the first floor, will move to another part of the same
In other capital
improvements business, Good said the Expo Center is once again open for
events after extensive renovations. He thinks everyone will be happy with
the changes, and thanked various County departments for chipping in.
“Everybody’s working together,” Good said. “It’s really good to see, so hats
off to everyone for coming together for a common cause.”
Director Lori Daly announced that there will be a public open house at the
Expo Center from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 14.
Renovations on the
downtown courthouse are also coming to a close, according to Good. New
windows are going in this summer, and--South Commissioner Laura Blaney (D)
noted--more landscaping will be done once the ground dries out.
The Board also
approved a renewal of the lease for the Portage Health Department office,
which they plan to move once the new North County Annex building is
Scott McClure said the current space is leased through August 2020, but “We
don’t expect to be there until then.” The contract has a 90-day termination
clause so the Health Department office can be moved as soon as the North
Annex is ready.
Robert Thompson reported bids are in for work on three bridges.
awarded a contract for repairs on Bridge 135, Old Porter Road over Salt
Creek, in Portage, for $673,536.54. Thompson said there’s a chance the
bridge won’t be finished before kids return to school in August.
Repairs on Bridge
152, Wagner Road over the Little Calumet River, in Porter, and Bridge 208,
Shorewood Drive over Lake Louise, in Valparaiso, will also be done by Rieth-Riley
for a bundled price of $753,310.30.
The Board appointed
Nick Walding to the Chesterton Economic Development Committee.
Department is working on memorandums of understanding with Valparaiso and
Chesterton for sharing the cost of roadwork, since the County can now do
in-house chip and seal. Good and Highway Superintendent Rich Sexton hope
more municipalities will join in on the cost savings.
The Board approved
Thompson to enter a fleet management agreement with Enterprise. The
Development and Storm Water Management Department will take the trade-in
value of its three current vehicles as a credit toward the contract’s annual
fee and get five vehicles--two trucks, two SUVs, and one sedan--in return.
Per the agreement,
Enterprise handles vehicle maintenance and rotates them out as they reach
maximum resale value, replacing them with newer models. The program operates
like a lease, though the County will own the vehicles, McClure said.
McClure said the
agreement will help the County budget, since new vehicles costs for that
Department can be boiled down to a known number. Good noted it also keeps
County employees in newer vehicles and saves money on one-time purchases.
Since the annual
fee is $25,173 with an expected $19,000 in trade-in value deducted, the
first year of the contract could cost less than $7,000.