New Firm Picked To Oversee Jail Expansion
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – No dirt has been moved, but most other aspects of a planned expansion of the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center are ready to get to work.
Dearborn County Commissioners voted to approve the hiring of Atlanta-based architectural firm Rosser International and their local engineering services partner American StructurePoint for the final design and construction of the $9.3 million jail renovation.
“Similar to the process used when Maxwell Construction was hired as Construction Manager, the Board of Commissioners wanted a rigorous selection procedure to ensure the County would get a quality Architect who could provide the best design for the money and be aggressive with their fees to save cost on the project,” said county administrator Terri Randall.
A committee of county leaders gave commissioners the recommendation for Rosser and American StructurePoint following an interview and screening process involving eight firms with strong jail design experience. The committee was made up of Randall, county councilman Maynard Barrett, councilman and prosecutor’s office employee Bryan Messmore, assistant jail commander Brian Monahan, and Maxwell Construction and their internal jail architect.
The screening process included a first round of two-hour interviews, followed by a second phase aimed at reducing costs by discussing fees and variable expenses.
Commissioner Tom Orschell said he is proud of the process and commitment of the committee.
“This was a very thorough screening and everyone took their job very seriously. Selecting the right architect will result in more for our money, a quality project, and a good handle on future operations cost of the larger facility” said Orschell.
The selection of Rosser International and American StructurePoint represents a shift in the jail expansion’s design since discussions of the project first began. Indianapolis-based RQAW was the preliminary jail architect, but last November when county council approved funding for the jail, members requested that the project be put out to a competitive bid.
“RQAW did a great job in their interview process and the County is appreciative of their services over the years. However, in the end, the Committee felt that Rosser International had a more robust portfolio, better quality and quantity of staff and resources, and better satisfied the County’s other stringent review requirements,” Randall said.
In a news release, county leaders noted Rosser International will be performing much of their work through their Lexington, Kentucky office with travel distances no further than what the County would have seen with the Indianapolis-based architectural firms. Also, the County believes the knowledge of the local engineers at StructurePoint relative to soil conditions, permitting, and structural design matters in this County will be valuable to the project as a whole.
“Only two of the three firms based in Indiana expressed interest in the project,” said Randall. “By expanding the competitive field to include larger firms as well as specialty firms in nearby States, the dynamics of the selection process changed. We raised the bar and the result was a very creative and interactive interview process where everyone felt comfortable asking the tough questions.”
What’s next for the jail expansion? Randall said commissioners will form a multi-disciplinary internal Jail Committee to include representatives from the jail, justice system, maintenance, commissioner’s office, and County Council. The team will work to finalize the design and budget before the end of the year.
Construction could start during the second quarter of 2013, Randall said.