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City meets with courthouse firms

July 18, 2011 12:15 am

BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY

Fredericksburg hopes to know by Oct. 1 who will build the proposed new city courthouse facilities.

"That may be an ambitious target, but it's what we're aiming for at this point," said City Manager Beverly Cameron.

Last week Cameron and city staff met with W.M. Jordan and with Donley's, and this week they will meet with First Choice. The meetings are an opportunity for the firms to ask the city questions and for the city to request additional information.

The three firms have until July 29 to give the city more information about their proposals.

In the request for proposals put out July 1, the city asked each firm specific questions about its proposal.

The RFP also requests a schedule of the project, including work to be performed by the owner, temporary court spaces and phasing.

The next scheduled meeting of the City Council is Aug. 23. There will likely be a work session before the meeting, but Cameron said it remains to be determined whether the session will be open or closed.

The next step is for the city to draft a comprehensive agreement with the firm selected.

Cameron said the city is getting more detail about certain aspects of the proposals and trying to establish a contract cost limit for each.

The contract cost limit sets a maximum price that the city would pay for the work. It will be inserted into the comprehensive agreement.

Cameron said the cost is "fairly important," but the city is considering other factors as well.

Once the finalist is selected, the City Council will vote.

Initially, the city received eight proposals from five firms for new courthouse facilities. The proposals were for sites on Princess Anne Street, Sophia Street and Caroline Street.

The options were narrowed to five at the end of May, and then in mid-June they were narrowed to three.

All three proposals would put the new courthouse facilities on Princess Anne Street.

The $32.6 million proposal from W.M. Jordan would put the Circuit Court in a three-story building on the site of the existing Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court would be in a three-story building on the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets.

It would take about 36 months to complete. The plan also includes renovating the Renwick building, which is the current home of the Circuit Court.

The $36 million proposal from First Choice would also put the three courts into two buildings. The current site of the General District Court on Princess Anne Street would be renovated to house the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

A new building would be constructed at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets to house the Circuit Court and General District Court.

The two buildings would be connected by a tunnel. It would take 30 months to complete.

The $34 million proposal from Donley's would put the courthouse at the site of the fire station, at Princess Anne and Wolfe streets.

The four-story building would have all three courts together.

The project would take about 44 months to complete.

Cameron said he doesn't expect the City Council to make a decision at the tentative Aug. 23 work session.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413
Email: rsidersky@freelancestar.com





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