Deep River board selects contractor for new hall
DEEP RIVER TWP. — Work on a new township hall in Deep River Township will be getting underway soon, after Barriger Builders of Prescott was awarded the project during the township board’s June 10 meeting.
Barriger’s final bid of $271,750 was the lowest bid on the project by roughly $29,000.
Township Clerk Ann Marie Borushko told the Independent the new hall will be attached to the north side of the township’s current office building, which sits adjacent to the east of the old township hall. Blueprints show it will be 80 feet by 60 feet and include a kitchen area and restrooms.
Borushko said the old hall, which was used for rentals and elections, had reached a point of deterioration that was no longer feasible for community members to rent.
“The basement floor frequently floods through the cracks in the brick walls and needed to be vacuumed up before the hall could be rented,” she said.
Mold had started to form in the hall due to the excess moisture, Borushko said.
Township Trustee Matt Stawowy said the assembly area of the hall was on a lower level, which created issues for accessibility.
“We had a lot of problems with it because the hall itself was in the basement,” he said. “So it wasn’t handicapped accessible and it was outdated.”
Stawowy added the new hall would be able to hold about 275 people.
“In reality, it’s something that the community needs, and there is really no place in our area to go and rent for baby showers and wedding showers and graduation open houses,” he said.
When it comes to elections, the township’s office building is not large enough to handle a general election, Borushko said.
“The August primary will be held in the township office building, but the office will not be capable of holding the volume of voters during the November election,” she said.
Borushko said the township has been concerned with the condition of the old hall for several years, and has reached the point where it has had to refund hall renters who were not satisfied with the condition of the structure.
“It’s been on the backburner for a long time,” she said. “Finally, it has deteriorated to the condition where it is not suitable for renting.”
According to Stawowy, when the township’s administration building was constructed in 2001, it was laid out in a manner that would allow for the addition of a hall in the future. He said new construction was also the intent when the offices were built.
“The board’s been putting money aside ever since then with this project in mind,” he said.
There are some misconceptions about the new hall, according to Borushko. She said many people believe it will not have a kitchen, which is untrue.
“It will have a kitchen. It will have stoves,” she said. “It will have a cooler and refrigerators, a freezer, but it’s not going to be a complete commercial kitchen, because we would have to add a $30,000 exhaust system.”
Eventually, the township would like to demolish the old hall, Borushko said.
During the meeting June 10, Barriger Builders owner Howard Barriger was present to speak to the board about the project. Township Trustee Joann Swartz said the township needs the project completed by the November election. Barriger told her that would not be an issue, and that he could begin working on the hall as soon as the township filed all of the necessary paperwork and gave him the green light.
However, Barriger had previously withdrawn his bid for the project, and admitted to the board his submitted bid did include an error. He said he gathered two separate costs for the masonry work, one that included materials and labor and one that only included labor, and that he submitted the latter, which was about $8,000 lower than the one including materials.
“I went through my bid and I realized that I did make an error, so rather than come to you and say, ‘I made an error, I can’t do this,’ because of the business I have, the reputation I have, I said, ‘I’m going to withdraw my bid,’ he said.
Since the additional $8,000 added on to the bid still had Barriger Builders about $29,000 lower than the next lowest bid, the township board reached out to legal counsel to make sure it could still go with Barriger for the project.
“We checked with three different legal counsels, because we didn’t want to do the wrong thing, and we didn’t want to show any favoritism,” Swartz said, adding each one told them they would be OK to accept Barriger’s bid.
Another bidder was in the audience during the meeting, and the board told him while they were not pleased with the way everything came together in the bid-opening process, it still had to do its job and serve the taxpayers in Deep River Township.
“As people who sit up here and spend taxpayer money, it’s in our best interest to save the township as much money as we can,” said Stawowy said.
Construction bids were opened on May 15, Borushko said.
The board also selected a financial institution to finance the project June 10. The board voted to work with Chemical Bank on funding for the project. Stawowy said the township plans to fund the hall with a loan and general fund monies.
“We’re proposing financing about $150,000, and paying for the balance out of our general fund,” he said. “Borrowing $150,000 over 15 years, it amounts to approximately $1,000 a month.”
The loan comes with a 3.29-percent interest rate. Stawowy said making monthly payments on the loan will help the township pay off the principal faster.
Deep River’s new hall will have a steel roof and steel walls, and the plan is for its appearance to coordinate with the existing administration building, Stawowy said.