Bids for jail come in $1 million under budget

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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Bidding began Wednesday afternoon for concrete work on the new Lawrence County Jail and it seems like the county may save a load of money.

The Lawrence County Quorum Court met in special session Wednesday afternoon and opened bids for the concrete work on the new jail, Justice of the Peace Lloyd Clark told NEA Report. A bid for the concrete was accepted from a Jonesboro firm, E&M Contractors, LLC.

“It was almost $200,000 below the other bid – well below,” Clark said. “That bid went to the Jonesboro firm. Then, the project manager for the construction went through all the other bids. Most of them, we took the low bidder but a couple of them were companies behind on other projects and we agreed to go to the next-to-the-lowest bidder.”

The group then approved the recommended bids for all the rest of the work. Subcontractors bid from Hoxie, Jonesboro, Evening Shade, Searcy, Conway, Memphis and elsewhere, Clark said. Contracts will be sent to those approved. The construction manager has to vet the companies and verify bonding, insurances and the like before the contracts become official. The contracts are expected to all to be signed and collected in the next 12 days and will be taken to County Judge Dale Freeman for signature.

Freeman was injured earlier in the month in a serious truck accident and has since been recovering in a Little Rock hospital.

One of the biggest developments of the meeting Wednesday was that all of the bids were below budget except for one and several were significantly below budget. Overall bids were $1 million below budget, Clark said.

“That leaves us some wiggle room if we encounter some unforeseen costs down the road and if we don’t have to spend it, maybe we can bank some of that and pay off the bonds faster,” Clark said.

The jail’s ground breaking will be 10 a.m. September 9. Construction will begin immediately thereafter.

Image source: Lloyd Clark. JPs and other officials accept bids Wednesday on the upcoming jail.

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