Jail, public safety building costs meet $106M budget

A Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for construction of Hays County’s jail renovation and public safety building was accepted after issues with the project being over budget in 2017. 

The Hays County Commissioners Court Jan. 30 approved a new GMP of $103,726,403, along with a $2.4 million contingency for unexpected costs. 

The new GMP comes after the county’s contractor, Turner Construction Company, presented an estimate in October 2017 that was $7.1 million over the county’s construction cost limitation (CCL) of $78 million. 

The inflated cost was “due in part to expected labor and material shortages caused by hurricanes in Texas and elsewhere,” according to a press release from the county. But those shortages have been resolved, according to officials.  

In another effort to keep prices down, Turner reached out to more than 3,000 subcontractors and received more than 300 bids for 30 packages for Phase II of the GMP in order to create price competition.

In 2017, commissioners were concerned about moving forward on a project that was more than the voter-approved budget.

Proposition 1, which was approved by voters as part of the county’s $252 million bond package in November 2016, called for $106.4 million in renovations to the county’s jail and construction of a new public safety building.

The renovation and construction project includes fleet maintenance, a jail addition, a new public safety building, training building and bonding for jail renovations. 

Commissioners instructed Turner to take some time to review the project and design documents and come back in January with a new GMP presentation.

On Jan. 30, Turner presented a new estimated total cost of $103.7 million; the $2.4 million contingency is not expected to be needed. If the contingency is needed, the bond will be the exact amount that voters approved.

Phase I of the project, approved in summer 2017, costs $5,345,523 for fleet maintenance and site work, and has the potential to be under budget. The cost of Phase II is estimated at $76,069,394, which is below the county’s $78 million CLL. There are additional soft costs of a little over $22 million included in the GMP. 

“The commissioners court was determined to keep the promise it made to the public about the costs – that there will not be a dollar more spent than was approved by voters,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said in a press release. “This project is under budget and we will continue to seek ways to reduce costs as it moves forward.”

According to documents submitted to the court by Turner in October, Phase I of the project is expected to be finishing up by February 2018. With the approval of the GMP, Phase II will begin after completion of Phase 1.

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