Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

October 3, 2013

Youth Center bids opened, with mixed results

Project still on track to break ground next month

Bids for the new youth center came in last week, but the low bidder may try to pull out of the process and the second-lowest bid may be too high, according to town officials.

Five bids were opened early last week, with the low bid coming in at $4.3 million from G&R Construction of Quincy.

However, Thomas Watkins, the town purchasing agent, said G&R president Robert Morel claims a clerical error resulted in an erroneous cost estimate.

“The bid is $400,000 lower than it should have been,” Watkins said, reading an email he received from Morel last week. He said Morel met with members of the Youth Center Building Committee and has gone back to his company to see if there is any way he can trim other costs to meet his original bid.

“We asked him to go back and look at the numbers to see if he can make up the difference,” Watkins said. “They are a great company. We’d like to work with them.”

Morel had until the middle of this week to tell town officials whether he was going to go forward or withdraw. If he withdraws, he may be forced to fork over 5 percent of the bid price, or about $220,000, Wadkins said.

All of the contractors bidding on the project were required to post a bond that could be forfeited if they pulled out within 30 days of making their original bid.

The second-lowest bid, at $4.6 million, meanwhile, could eat into the 10 percent contingency allotted for the $5.4 million project, according to members of the town Finance Committee.

At a Finance Committee meeting last week, Paul Fortier, the committee’s liaison to the Andover Youth Foundation, said the $4.6 million bid, which came from Dagel Electrical Construction Corp. of Melrose, may require using some of the 10 percent contingency budgeted for the project.

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