Commonwealth Journal

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March 14, 2014

Bids for $8.5 million energy center expected to be advertised by April 1

Somerset —

The Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction has approved plans for Somerset’s proposed energy center, the next to final step for the city to advertise for construction bids, Mayor Eddie Girdler said this week.
With the state’s approval, energy center plans will be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from where an OK to advertise for construction bids will likely be given within 10 days, the mayor said. The center was designed by Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a Lexington-based group of architects, engineers and planners.
“This go-ahead from USDA is usually automatic,” Girdler noted, “ ... so construction bids for the center should be advertised no later than April 1.” 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Program has approved an $8.5 million loan to build the center. The loan will be repaid with natural gas revenues and no taxpayers’ money will be involved, Girdler said.
The center will monitor the city’s vast natural gas pipeline network and serve as city hall. The building’s four floors, including a basement, will house city hall offices and an emergency command center with police department space. 
The 36,200-square-foot mod-ernistic, glass-bedecked structure, first of its kind in Kentucky, will be located on what is now a city parking lot at the corner of East Mt. Vernon and College streets. The area will be expanded by demolition of the former Meece Hardware building on the west side of the parking lot; the former city utilities building on the west side of College Street north of the parking lot; and the current city utilities building on the east side of College Street just north of Somerset City Hall. The existing city hall facing East Mt. Vernon Street will be torn down to make way for a parking lot.

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