Ocean View to redesign public works building after bidding fails

At the Ocean View Town Council meeting last week, Town Manager Dianne Vogel discussed the recent bid received for the construction of the town’s new public works building. Vogel reported that CB Structures Inc. was the only contractor that had submitted a proposal for the construction of the building, with a bid of $584,744.

“Kercher Engineering reviewed the bid and prepared a letter for town council, recommending you reject the bid because it was so significantly higher than the approved budget and the engineer’s estimate,” Vogel said.

She added that, after a special town meeting held in August, the council had voted to form a subcommittee comprising Vogel, Councilman Bob Lawless and Mayor Gordon Wood. Vogel said Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader had also been in attendance for that first meeting, as was Bob Wheatley from Whalen Construction.

“[He] discussed the deficiencies in the most recent bid package that we had prepared,” said Vogel. “It is obvious that costs need to be cut, so Mr. Wheatley recommended that we remove the second-floor storage area from the model and extend the footprint of the building. The general sense of the group was that Mr. Wheatley was well-informed and his contract has been signed.”

Wheatley also recommended hiring Fred Horn of Horn Architect Inc to revise the design and work with Kercher.

“The objective of hiring Mr. Wheatley and changing the architect is to make this public works building project the most desirable project of its type in Sussex County at the time we go out to bid,” emphasized Lawless. “We want to make sure that any of the obstacles that could be perceived by prospective bidders are eliminated beforehand, without compromising the objectives for the Town. We want to have a whole flock of people fighting to do this job, rather than having it go by default to someone who really isn’t interested.”

Vogel added that Wheatley, Horn and a representative from Kercher had met to walk the property designated for the building and discuss the new layout.

“It will be a pre-engineered building,” added Wood. “The cost should be significantly lower. It should fit our needs. Hopefully, we can get it done on an expedited, reasonable basis.”

In other town news:

• The Ocean View Police Department has filled an opening for an officer, and the newly hired officer will be reporting to the Delaware State Police Academy on Oct. 21 to begin his recruit training.

• The Town has scheduled its annual holiday tree lighting ceremony for Dec. 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. Vogel said that, this year, Santa Claus could be arriving at the event on a fire truck. Additionally, there will be face-painters, balloon artists, hot chocolate and cookies for the kids in attendance. The town tree will be lit, with carols, at 5 p.m.