The Fayette County commissioners have awarded bids totaling nearly $40 million for the new county prison, which officials said is projected to come in under budget.

During Thursday’s regular meeting, the following bids were awarded:

n $24,767,000 to Nello Construction Company of Carnegie for general construction

n $5,693,000 to Bob Biter Electrical Enterprises Inc. of Cresson for electrical construction

n $2,987,000 to Hranec Sheet Metal of Uniontown for HVAC construction

n $2,341,200 to Vrabel Plumbing of Gibsonia for plumbing construction

n $1,799,660 to Shallenberger Construction Company Inc. of Connellsville for site-work construction;

n $935,500 to Interstate Fire Protection Company Inc. of Valencia for fire protection construction

n $718,000 to Breckenridge Kitchen Equipment and Design of Huron, Ohio, for food service construction

Commissioner Vince Vicites abstained on the vote for Hranec because he has a relative who works there.

Along with $20,000 for asbestos abatement and $87,000 for site and demolition work for the project, the total amount of the bid summary for the prison project was $39,348,711, coming in under the original estimated cost of $44,025,000.

Vicites said the county was able to save around $50 million on the total project so far with bids, and other cost-saving measures like getting the land for free, trimming design costs while meeting regulations and going with a USDA loan instead of a bond issue.

“We did our homework,” said Commissioner Scott Dunn. “All these companies we awarded contracts to today are experienced companies with good references and competitive bids.”

Dunn said all those involved in the project worked hard during the pandemic, having virtual meetings every two weeks and always keeping the prison project on the table.

“There’s a lot of people to thank here, but there’s a lot of work ahead,” Dunn said.

Vicites said they were able to find good contractors with at least three of them being local.

Commissioner Dave Lohr said they’re aware of concerns that construction costs are a factor in any building project, and plan to keep the costs as low as possible.

“We’re moving forward with this,” Lohr said.

The project is expected completed sometime by the spring of 2023.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously voted to approve a grant application to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for construction of a walking trail around Dunlap Creek Park.

Dunn said, as part of the Fayette Living Well Coalition, he believes that the move will not only enhance the park, but will enhance residents’ ability to go out and exercise to improve the health of the community.

“These are things everybody can take advantage of,” Dunn said.

Lohr said the county has worked hard to make the parks in the county more accessible with actions like having pavilion rentals and hiring a parks director.

“So take advantage with what we have,” Lohr said. “We have a lot of stuff here.”

The total project cost for the trail is estimated at $342,003, and there’s a match requirement of 50% or $171,001.50.

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