Fenwick committee searched for architect

The Fenwick Island Building Committee will solicit bids for architectural services as their next step in the public safety building process. The committee came to the consensus that a two–story, free-standing building was their best bet, as costs with tying it into the building currently leased by the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, such as for an elevator and a sprinkler system, would be excessive.

The council will have final approval over the location and type of the building, and all bid decisions, but the committee decided giving the council the most comprehensive recommendation they could would be the most efficient way to move forward.

The council also received a letter from Alvin French, of French+Ryan, Inc. of Georgetown, and read over it at the meeting. French was also in attendance and provided the council with answers to some questions they had.

French said when his firm worked with South Bethany on their new town hall and police building, they presented the bid package as stick-built and modular. Fenwick Island Police Chief William Boyden said with the preliminary drawings that he had, he had contacted some modular companies, but had not gotten much response.

Councilman and committee member Bill Weistling asked French if they do mechanical and electrical specifications, and French answered that they do, as is customary in the profession, adding that they are a point of contact through the process. He also said that “the firms will come visit you to see about the scope of the project,” once the bids for services are put out.

Councilwoman Vicki Carmean, who was in the audience, questioned the legality of going ahead with the bid process for architectural services, and asked if there was something giving the committee the authority to do so.

“I’m sure there is,” answered Mayor Audrey Serio, and Weistling added, “at this point we are just soliciting bids,” so there would be no exchange of money until council approval.

Depending upon the scope of the work, once the town hires an architect, it could be six months before construction bids are put out. They decided they will meet again as a committee on April 20 with hopes to have something to put forth to the council regarding next steps at the April 23 council meeting.