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Murray County considers LEC

SLAYTON -- While getting closer, the Murray County Commissioners still are not quite prepared to send the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) construction project out for bid.

"I've been getting calls at home from different contractors that are interested," Murray County Chief Deputy Randy Donahue said Tuesday. "People want the job."

The project, which has been in the works for more than a year, will add space on to the current LEC and refurbish the existing space. A basement will be added for evidence and file storage, and there will be space for the deputies to work in a bullpen-style environment. The sheriff, chief deputy and jail administrator will have their own offices; the dispatch area will be separate from the reception area; a conference room and some interview rooms will be added; and there will be a vestibule with a waiting area.

"We've reviewed the plans several times," Donahue said. "We made some slight modifications, but all in all it is a good fit. (The plan) addresses not only what we need now, but what we will need in the future."

David Cihasky, the project architect from consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., presented a construction estimate Tuesday to commissioners, but warned the figures were slightly higher than what SEH had estimated, coming in at $1.68 million.

"I think the last number we gave you, the $1.3 million, is a lot closer," Cihasky said.

The estimate from Knutson Construction lists $220,000 for site preparation, while SEH believes that figure will be closer to $100,000. The figure for general requirements, which Knutson estimated at more than $171,000, will be "reduced significantly in the bidding process," Cihasky added.

He requested authorization to put the plans out for bid in mid-January, but Commissioner Bob Moline asked that the authorization wait until after the Jan. 6 meeting so a few financing options can be explored.

"There are financing options that would not have a real strong impact on the taxpayers," Auditor/Treasurer Heidi Winter said.

Cihasky agreed, but cautioned the commissioners not to wait too long, because contractors get booked up early in the season and he hopes to see construction begin by early May.