Commonwealth Journal

News Live

May 27, 2014

D.W. Wilburn is low bidder on Somerset’s Energy Center project

Somerset —

A construction company familiar to Somerset and Pulaski County has submitted the apparent low bid to construct Somerset Energy Center, a computerized nerve complex to monitor the city’s vast natural gas network. It will also provide space for a new city hall.
D.W. Wilburn of Somerset and Lexington had a low proposal of $9,180,000 to construct the 36,200 square-foot glass-bedecked complex. Wilburn is a Pulaski County native and former basketball star at Pulaski County High School. His company has constructed several school buildings in the county; the latest project is Pulaski County’s new public library.
Three other construction firms submitted proposals during a bid-opening at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Somerset City Hall. Alliance Corporation of Bowling Green bid $9,609,100; Codell Construction of Winchester bid $9,795,000; and Judy Construction of Cynthiana bid $10,382,000.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Program has approved an $8.5 million loan to build the center. However, Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said “ ... these are good bids ... about what we expected.” Girdler has said the loan will be repaid by profits from the city’s natural gas business and not with taxpayers’ money.
A successful bid above the $8.5 million loan will have to be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and again by Somerset City Council, Girdler said. The initial step following Tuesday’s bid opening will be a review and calculation of bids by Brandstetter Carroll Inc., the Lexington firm that designed the center.
Architects will send a recommendation to city council, the mayor noted. Eric Chambers, project architect with Brandstetter Carroll, opened and read the submitted proposals at the bid-opening session.
“USDA will require about 45 days to complete paperwork,” said Girdler. He anticipated awarding a contract about the first of August.
The planned energy center will be a striking centerpiece in downtown Somerset. It will stand in stead of several dilapidated buildings and replace the former automotive repair shop building converted to a honeycombed city hall in 1951. 

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