Cop shop construction manager sought

Howard County commissioners will hold a special meeting Monday to review proposals for the position of construction manager at-risk for the joint law enforcement project.Commissioners are expected to review proposals from approximately five different companies, according to County Judge Mark Barr, as the court looks to move forward with the facility that will soon house both the County Sheriff’s Office and the Big Spring Police Department.“Each of the companies is expected to have a representative there for us to meet with during the meeting,” Barr said. “Once we’ve made a decision on a construction manager at-risk, this project should begin making some major progress. We’ve been told if the weather holds out and everything goes smoothly, we could be ready to occupy the joint law enforcement center as early as March.”Planning for the center — which will be located at the newly built Howard County Detention Center — began earlier this year when Sheriff Stan Parker and Police Chief Lonnie Smith approached their respective governments about sharing the cost for a joint facility.Barr said the architectural drawings — which are being handled by Jeff Heffelfinger of Southwest Architects are expected to be completed sometime next week.“Once the drawings are completed and we have our construction manager at-risk, our hope is to be able to go out on bids for the project in the next two weeks or so,” Barr said.According to officials with both government entities, the proposed deal would have the city of Big Spring chipping in $1.7 million on the project — the bulk of its funds already designated for renovation or replacement of the Troy Hogue Law Enforcement Center — with the county picking up the balance, estimated by Heffelfinger at approximately $1 million.County officials are no strangers when it comes to construction, having recently been involved in the building of the new detention center. However, according to Barr, this project is much simpler.“We had a lot of different hoops to jump through in the construction of the new jail. This project is much, much simpler,” Barr said. “This is a basic office building, which is nowhere near as complicated as building a jail. That’s one of the reasons we feel like we can have the project completed in such a short timeline.”Once the construction manager at-risk is chosen, Barr said he hopes to see local contractors take part in the bidding process.“You always want to see your local businesses and contractors as involved as possible in a project like this,” Barr said. “We really hope they will take the time to bid on the various aspects of this project when the time comes. Information on the bidding process will be available through the county auditor’s office.”Monday’s meeting will get under way at 10 a.m. in the commissioners courtroom, located on the third floor of the county courthouse. For more information, contact the county judge’s office at 264-2202.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at