It’s back to the drawing board for the Seward Electric Department. At Monday night’s council meeting, a majority of council members drew the line at allowing the department to modify the construction agreement with Harmon Construction Inc., to provide in-floor, hot-water floor heating to the new warehouse building at Fort Raymond generation station. The resolution would have allowed the city manager to increase its existing contract with Harmon by $89,500 in order to have Harmon install a vapor barrier, insulation, and PEX tubing into the foundation of the warehouse at Fort Raymond generation station. The water would be heated by a new PEX boiler system.
The heated floor system was recommended by Harmon Construction, which had been asked to erect the building and design and install lighting and heating systems. Harmon recommended the floor heating, currently in use in the new library museum building, as the most efficient and economical method of heating the building.
But council members objected, and the resolution failed by a 4:3 vote. They had earlier expressed the desire that the electric warehouse, whose main purpose is to provide an indoor facility for electric department trucks, supplies and equipment, be minimally heated in the small office areas actually occupied by employees, including a dry room for electrical line-workers.
Councilmember Christy Terry said she felt a Toyo Stove would be adequate for heating those rooms and the office space, and did not feel that the trucks required that level of heating. They already have plug-in capabilities, having been stored outdoors. She reminded the administration that there had already been another change order providing additional insulation to the warehouse. She asked management to provide a break-out of all the costs for the warehouse to date.
Council members Jean Bardarson and Rissie Casagranda raised similar concerns about the additional costs of the warehouse project. Casagranda asked why the additional costs didn’t come out of the contractor’s 10-percent contingency fee for unforeseen costs.
They weren’t unforeseen costs, said Electric Department Director John Foutz. They had just been broken out of the warehouse project costs to save on expenses, or as jobs that city workers might potentially have done in-house for less. City Manager Jim Hunt added that he did not foresee the warehouse being heated during the summer.
The resolution failed 4-3 with David Seaward, Bob Valdatta and Marianna Keil voting in favor of it, and Casagranda, Vanta Shafer, Bardarson and Terry voting against it.
The work has been funded via a $3.9 million grant by the Alaska Energy Authority for maintenance and generators at Fort Raymond, our diesel-generated backup power station, but only $1.4 million of that grant is allocated to go for the warehouse.
On March 11 the council authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with R&M Steel Co. of Caldwell, Idaho, to purchase and ship a steel building kit for $196,000, and to waive the normal bid procurement procedures. The city did get quotes from four other suppliers of steel building kits.
On June 24th the council authorized the city manager to enter into a construction contract with Harmon Construction of Seward, for the civil and site work to build the warehouse foundation for $493,000, plus a 10 percent contingency fee. It was done by competitive bid process, but of the six companies who bid, only Harmon’s plan was deemed responsive.
On a related matter, the council narrowly approved a resolution Monday night authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with Harmon to build an additional 240 feet of sidewalk along Sea Lion Avenue for $69,000, waving competitive procurement requirements. Allowing Harmon, which is already on the site to do the foundation would save the city on equipment mobilization and demobilization costs, Foutz said.
Bob Valdatta suggested that the sidewalks be fitted for potential sidewalk heating. Mayor Seaward and council member Cassagranda also voted against the proposed sidewalk contract. Seaward later explained it was because he did not agree with waiving the bid procurement process.
By SCN Reporter Heidi Zemach