A Shelbyville businessman has been awarded the construction contract to build a new ambulance station in Chapel Hill.
J.R. Warren's bid of $297,716 was the lowest of four offers received by Marshall County officials who sought refined responses from four of the original 12 bidders last month.
Bids ranged from nearly $400,000 to just over $500,000 when they were opened on Sept. 25 in the Marshall County Courthouse Annex on Lewisburg's public square. But at least three bidders were recognized as remarkably competitive and county officials decided to continue the competition.
"We took the four lowest bidders for the base bid," said Freda Terry, director of accounts and budgets. "Our architect asked them to submit changes that could lower the bids to our benchmark, but he didn't tell them what that was."
Franklin-based architect Richard Williams listed 24 items that could be changed and two weeks later the results were as follows:
* $297,716 -- Warren, who deducted $112,833 from his original bid;
* $298,814 -- Truette Construction, Lewisburg, whose original bid was lowered by $104,084;
* $312,943 -- Saliba Construction of Lawrenceburg, whose bid was lowered by $88,057, and;
* $348,543 -- Preston Brothers of Woodbury, who lowered their bid by $50,957.
The Marshall County Commission's Building Committee was able to award the construction contract to Warren on Thursday night last week because county commissioners authorized the expenditure, Terry said Friday.
Five of the six commissioners on the Building Committee voted to award the contract. Commissioner Scottie Poarch didn't, explaining, "I don't think it's a good time to spend money." Poarch prefers to postpone construction.
Funding for the ambulance station was approved in February last year, according to discussion during the committee meeting on Thursday. Commissioners on the committee substantiated a colleague's observation, "We're just having a hard time."
The Marshall County Emergency Medical Service has a station across Horton Highway from Chapel Hill's Fire Hall and Police Station. Since that structure was provided by the Lions Club in cooperation with the town, the ambulances used by the county have changed from a van to a truck with a box on the back.
Other than the tight fit, reasons to move include the ambulance station's age and land provided by a regional developer. Howard Wall and his wife, Sally, of Murfreesboro own a second home near Chapel Hill Elementary School where they're developing land for new homes and businesses.
A two-bay garage was planed for the new ambulance station. Four bedrooms, a kitchen, living and dining room areas are other parts of the 3,012-square-foot building to be constructed this year.
"I'm sure Mr. Warren ordered supplies this morning," Terry said on Friday when asked when she thought work would begin.