County Selects Architect and Construction Manager for New Jail and Juvenile Center

Andrew Trzaska | April 23, 2013

Muskegon’s county commission selected an architect and a construction manager for the building of its new jail and juvenile detention center.

Holland-based GMB Architects and Engineers came in as the best bid as decided by the citizen committee on the jail earlier this month. The review process factored in multiple criteria in the selection, including qualifications, an in-person interview, and price. They will work with the Goldberg Group to design the jail. Their bid came in at $2.05 million.

Lansing-based Granger Construction was selected as the best bid by the same committee and process. Their bid came in at $1.49 million for their services.

Only one Muskegon area architect, Hooker De Jong, submitted a bid for the architecture role.  No Muskegon area construction managers submitted bids.

Jerry Brand, vice president of Granger Construction, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting ahead of the vote. He assured the commission of transparency and local focus in their work:

“We look forward to working closely with local contractors and disenfranchised local companies,” said Granger.

Granger will receive bids on the county’s behalf and approve them for the county. Their agreement with the county sets a maximum price for the county to pay; any cost overruns

“We’re going to execute your board purchasing guidelines. We’re going to be hard to identify opportunities for local contractors before this even begins.”

Commissioner Charles Nash, who previously served on the board before rejoining this year, alluded to previous issues with contractors when he expressed confidence in GMB and Granger.

“This is one of the most comfortable times I have ever felt,” said Nash. “I think we’ve made a great choice in an architect and a great choice in a construction manager.”

Commissioner Bob Scolnik spoke to the multiple decades that the suggestion of a new jail has been discussed by the commission.

“I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to see this,” said Scolnik.

Muskegon County also approved the issuance of a bond specifically to build the jail up to the value of $35 million on Tuesday. The true value could end up being less based on how much money the county has in the bank and what the final construction estimates will be. According a representative from Miller Canfield, the county’s bond counsel, the bond will be shopped on an exchange in Chicago to the buyer with the best interest rate. The county plans to pay it off over the next 25 years.

Commissioner Ken Mahoney noted after Tuesday’s meeting that he hoped the design process would include citizen input and would take around 6 months.  He also stated that he hoped the bond would see action soon while rates still remained low.

After multiple years of discussion, the county settled on a county-owned parcel of land across Pine Street from the Kobza Hall of Justice that is currently used as overflow and employee parking for the courthouse.  The current jail will be remodeled and the new portion will be connected to the rest of the courthouse/jail complex by a tunnel that will run under Pine Street.

The commission’s single vote on Tuesday on the contracts was unanimous.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst