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Lewis Lanes engineering study proposals arrive, firm yet to be named

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LOWVILLE — The Lewis County Buildings and Grounds Committee is reviewing three requests for proposals for engineering studies to be completed on the Lewis Lanes property.

Bernier, Carr & Associates, Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors and GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying, all of Watertown, submitted proposal packages to the committee.

The study will help legislators determine whether or not the bowling alley, just north of the village on Route 26, will be feasible to convert to county office space.

It also will include an environmental review.

If either the space is determined not to be suitable or the property does not pass an environmental review, the county could walk away from a $1 million purchase agreement with bowling alley owners Richard E. and Derek Crouse.

A third condition of the purchase offer states an appraisal must meet or exceed the purchase price.

An appraisal has not yet been conducted, though a preliminary appraisal done at the time of the purchase agreement in October indicated the property should come in at approximately $1.1 million.

In the meantime, the committee will review the three proposals, which spanned a more than $12,000 difference.

GYMO’s proposal contained the lowest price of $18,500, additionally offering that 75 percent of the fees could be credited to the county if it chose GYMO to perform construction of the job.

The original plans for the building, when it was designed as a bowling alley, were engineered by GYMO.

Bernier, Carr & Associates’ price was at $28,730, though out-of-pocket expenses for the county would come in at $5,000, because of a $23,730 credit the company extended for payment made on a proposed county office building that eventually was not approved by the Legislature.

Aubertine and Currier’s price was the highest at $31,115.

Price is not the only factor that the committee is considering.

In an effort to receive the proposals in an “apples to apples” fashion, according to Frank J. Pace, senior planner with Lewis County Department of Economic Development and Planning, a scoring system was created for interested companies.

Points were awarded in 10 different categories including creativity, experience, cost, methodology and technical competence.

For example, a company would score higher if the bulk of its engineering team had been with the company at least two years. This would prevent a company from creating a lower bid price by including inexperienced engineers.

“All respondents followed the guidelines,” said Committee Chairman Legislator Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville, while examining the documents. “They got a grip on what we want. They’re all in separate categories, but this is still going to take a while.”

The committee will have all scoring done to present to the Legislature as a whole at the April 1 meeting, when board members are expected to award the engineering study and appraisal.

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