Butler County jail project to be rebid

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Improvements to a booking area at Butler County Justice Center will be delayed while officials put the project out for bid a third time.

The effort may need to be done in stages, Sheriff Mark Dobbs said this week, explaining bids may not be requested again until in the fall.

The effort would increase safety for corrections officers by expanding the booking area and making it more secure, while also adding three more holding/medical observation cells.

A first attempt by the county to get bids in June did not receive a response. A second attempt in June netted two bids, one from Nunn's Construction Company of Paragould, Arkansas and one from C.E. Norton Construction and Plumbing of Poplar Bluff.

The bids were opened July 2 and the project was awarded the same day by county commissioners to Nunn's Construction. With a bid of $20,950, Nunn's was lower than the $70,380 in costs from the Poplar Bluff company.

The bid from Nunn's did not include materials, according to bid sheets, while the higher one did.

It would be unfair to compare the two bids because of this difference, said Dobbs. The higher bid was also beyond what the department can afford, he said.

In order to make the project more affordable, it may be necessary to bid it out in smaller pieces, he said.

The booking area has limited space and needs more holding cells and medical observation cells, Dobbs has said.

Space for the expansion became available after the department began utilizing video visitation. The public can use monitors in the lobby or visit from home through a web-based service.

The sheriff's department reported in January some work on the project had begun, including expanding the inside perimeter of the booking area and the addition of metal grates in a stairwell between the second and third floor to prevent inmates from accessing lower stairs.

Bids for the current project included remodeling a visiting area for the booking area; removing phone partitions and windows from a block wall; fabricating and installation of a metal ceiling; removing a block wall partition; and other work.

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