VALPARAISO | The city's Board of Public Works and Safety is expected to award contracts Friday to construct the new Public Works Department campus on land at the city's sewage treatment plant.
New bids on four items were opened this week after the original bids opened Oct. 30 came in well above the engineers' estimates and one item, flooring, initially received no bids. Public Works Director Matt Evans said he hopes work can begin in January and be complete before next winter.
Evans said the new low bid for steel erection was $941,877 from Henry Gurtzweiler. That still is about $300,000 over the estimate but is almost $300,000 under the previous low bidder.
Overall, the project is expected to be completed within the $6.4 million budget, Evans said. One issue still undecided is whether to build the rainwater harvesting system, which would channel rain from the buildings' extensive roof into an underground tank for use in washing vehicles, watering trees and landscaping, street sweeping and other needs.
The 80,000-square-foot building could collect 44,000 to 45,000 gallons of water in a 1-inch rain, Evans said.
"That would come in very handy in washing the fleet of 60 vehicles and applying to the streets in the form of brine in winter," he said.
The department has a 2,500-gallon tanker it uses to water about 150 trees and other landscaping in the city whenever conditions are dry. The department pays for the water it now uses from the city and pays a sewer bill for a large share of it. Much of that cost could be saved with the harvesting setup.
Evans said the rain harvesting system would cost $80,000 to $100,000. The new facilities will provide room to store all the department's vehicles indoors and have a maintenance facility for both public works and the utilities' vehicles.