Bids for Lake County Jail plumbing work coming in low
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent May 5, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: May 6, 2013 9:43AM
CROWN POINT - Plumbing work at the Lake County Jail has come in significantly lower than the $5 million estimated price tag.
Lake County Commissioners this week opened two bids for the plumbing work that came in more than 75 percent less than the $5 million price tag of initial estimates for the work. Keough Mechanical Corp. of Merrillville entered the low bid of $964,242 while the only other bidder, Mechanical Concepts Inc. of Gary bid $1.36 million.
Late last year county officials sold $5 million in bonds to pay for the work that was mandated by the Department of Justice following lawsuits filed by inmates regarding the overcrowding and the conditions inside the facility.
Bob Reeder, project manager, said the main reason the bids came in lower is because the plumbing work was broken out from work to repair ceilings and replace fixtures damaged by the backed-up plumbing. Reeder said by breaking the project apart he better be able to control the costs associated with the repair work.
“We’ll be cutting out the middle man,” Reeder said.
Officials have said they expect the final cost to be at least half the original cost expected. Any unused portion of the bond will be tapped for other capital expenditures designed to reduce jail overcrowding.
John Dull, attorney for the commissioners, said in an email the jail bond can be used for any construction purpose directly or indirectly related to the jail. That may also include projects that deal with incarceration in other related facilities such as work release, the juvenile justice system or any project undertaken that would make space available in the jail.
“If you look at the expenditures for public works maintenance in the Lake County Jail over the last five years, you will see that annually the jail is a bucket into which gallons and gallons of money have been poured,” Dull said.
The original jail building, where most of the plumbing work is needed, was built in 1972. The new jail was built in 1998.