Bay County commissioners have selected a construction management firm to oversee the $13.5 million courthouse expansion project.
Three firms made pitches during Tuesday's board meeting: Ajax Building Corporation, GAC Contractors and W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company. Afterwards, commissioners ranked Yates number one, followed by GAC and Ajax.
The board voted to authorize county staff to negotiate a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract with Yates.
According to officials of the Destin based firm, the company has been in business since 1964 and built nearly $400 million worth of projects in Bay County in the past 10 years. Yates has experience building courthouses and has worked with Collins & Associates, the architectural firm responsible for designing the courthouse addition.
Mike Lovrekovic, a Bay County native and Yates' Area Manager, will serve as the company's point person on the courthouse project. "I'm extremely happy to be a part of this project," he said. "I know how important it is to the community and I look forward to knowing that I had something to do with a public building here."
Lovrekovic said the timing of the commission's action couldn't be better. "I commend the commissioners for getting this out early on instead of waiting until the project is completely designed," he said. That allows the company to bring in "subject matter experts" to participate in the planning process, he said.
The company's presentation included a time-lapse animation of the project, which includes a new building, courtrooms, judges' chambers and parking. It will be built adjacent to the courthouse and funded with fines and fees collected by the Clerk of Courts.
"People that are actually going to be using that courthouse are going to be paying and it's not going to be a property tax or anything coming out of the general fund," said Commissioner George Gainer. "We're real proud of the way it's come about and the way it's coming along."
The design is still being finalized and there is no specific date for groundbreaking, but the tentative schedule calls for completion of the courthouse project in 2015.