Construction bids on a two-pronged project that will result in the demolition of a circa-1937 jail belonging to Leavenworth County will be opened over the next two weeks, allowing work to proceed.
John Forslund, director of buildings and grounds for Leavenworth County, told the County Commission Monday that two separate pre-bid conferences have been conducted in recent weeks to give potential bidders an idea of the scope of the project.
The first conference addressed the needed relocation of fiber optic cable between the Leavenworth County Courthouse and the Leavenworth County Justice Center that is being packaged as part of the project. Forslund said the conference for that portion of the project attracted 10 contractors, two of which were from Leavenworth County.
“About an hour later, we had a pre-bid conference for the demolition of the old jail,” Forslund said. “Thirteen contractors attended that. Four of them were from Leavenworth County.”
The demolition project has been long planned since the footprint of the old jail is eyed to accommodate a future expansion of the Justice Center. The project was stalled because of concerns from the city of Leavenworth's Preservation Committee and the Leavenworth City Commission in 2008 that demolishing the jail could harm the historic environs of the Leavenworth County Courthouse, which is listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places, prompting both of those bodies to deny a demolition permit request from the county.
With mold, asbestos and general disrepair said to be among the hazards making renovation of the former jail financially prohibitive, the commission tried again in late 2012, with the preservation commission again denying the permit on the same grounds. The city commission, however, approved the request.
The project was included in the multi-year list of capital improvements approved by the commission last year, scheduled for 2013 with an associated estimated cost of $535,340. The fiber optic project is also scheduled in that plan, with an associated estimated cost of $34,800.
“The fiber optics opens tomorrow at 2 p.m.,” Forslund said of the bids for that phase of the project, “and the demolition contract opens on the 18th.”