MPD pushes ahead with evidence locker rebid

After a bidding controversy stalled plans for a new evidence locker in 2013, the Medford Police Department is once again looking for a contractor on the project that's expected to cost more than a half-million dollars.

The city has sent out a request for proposals to construct a 2,223-square-foot, two-story storage building at the Police Property Control site in west Medford.

Last year, the project fell apart when other contractors cried foul over the bidding process.

At the time, city staff recommended giving the contract to Adroit Construction Company of Ashland even though the company had the highest bid.

The Ausland Group of Medford provided the lowest bid but didn't include the cost of permits in its proposal, while the other companies did.

Last year, a four-member committee rated the proposals, ranking the overall approach to the project with the most points, followed by qualifications of key personnel, then rates and expenses and, finally, the company's project history.

Adroit scored the best on key personnel, overall approach and project history but came in last on rates and expenses.

In the latest request, the city will give the most points to rates and expenses. Overall approach to the project and key personnel will each receive the second highest amount of points, followed by history.

The city is still proposing a so-called "design-build" contract where the city and the contractor would design the project together and attempt to keep costs down or provide additional value in the project.

"On these kinds of proposals, it's not just the price but the value received," said Bob Mayers with Adroit. "We want people to say they can't believe we did this much and accomplished it within the budget."

Mayers said that in a design-build project, the owner has a budget, but works with a contractor to design a project that provides the best value.

"Until you finish the design, you don't know what the final number will be," he said.

Mayers said his company will dust off its former proposal and make some changes.

"We will put our hat in the ring and see how we do this time," he said.

Kelsy Ausland, president of the Ausland Group, said her company hasn't made a decision yet whether it wants to submit a proposal on the project.

Ausland, who appealed to the council last year to accept her company's lowest bid, said the "design-build" process is more than just the price.

"It's an opportunity to select the best partner for the project," she said.

The city has set a maximum price of $523,400 for the project, which includes design and engineering, site work, construction, landscaping, furnishings, permits, and contingencies.

Proposals will be opened March 6. Once the contract is awarded, the total construction period will be six months.

Medford police say they need the additional space because they are running out of room to store evidence from crimes. In some cases, evidence has to be retained for 50 years or more in violent crimes.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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