Remodeling the building for the Parker Magistrate Court went out for bids again Aug. 2. Parker Public Works Director Steve Ziegler said high labor costs and a short completion time contributed to earlier bids on the project being more than double what the town had budgeted for the project. He said they’ve changed the scope of the project and have also extended the completion period from 60 days to 120 days in an effort at keeping costs down.
Ziegler said there is currently a shortage of skilled construction workers, and this contributed to the bids on the project coming in so much higher than what was estimated.
At the Town Council’s July 16 meeting, the council followed Ziegler’s recommendation and rejected all the bids received on the Magistrate Court. They ranged from $356,000 to $428,000. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, the town had budgeted $150,000 for the project.
In re-examining the project, Ziegler said he learned of the shortage of skilled construction workers, which is driving up labor costs when contractors hire subcontractors.
“They pay those rates, or the work doesn’t get done,” Ziegler said. He added the short completion time also contributed to the higher labor costs.
Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said she feels frustrated because the work isn’t getting done.
“We wanted it done so quickly,” she said. “Because of labor, there was a higher cost at 60 days. We’ll try it at 120 days and see how that works.”
In an earlier interview, Ziegler said they are using low-cost materials throughout the project. He said there’s nothing fancy about it.
“You could go to Home Depot for all the materials,” he said.
The Town purchased the building at 1112 Arizona Avenue in March 2018 at a cost of $170,000. The plan is to move the Magistrate Court and offices for the Parker Community/Senior Center into the building. It was best known as the office of the Motor Vehicle Division until MVD moved to their new office on Mutahar Drive.
In addition to budgeting capital funds, the Town applied for and received a grant from the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts for $39,322 for security equipment mandated by the state for all the courts in the state. The AOC is part of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Some work has already been done on the building. Earlier this year, the firm of Spray Systems removed asbestos and lead paint from the building. The cost of $13,000 was covered by a grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. In February, Seabury Fritz was hired to do the architectural work at a cost of $24,700. The Public Works crews gutted the building in preparation for remodeling.
In June, the council approved bid for mold removal and building and installing a new roof. George Bryant Construction submitted a bid of $5,820 for mold removal. Zeigler told the council they also performed mold remediation at the Earp Post Office.
Prime Waterproofing and Roofing, Inc. submitted a bid of $14,250 to rebuild the roof. The work involves removing two layers of roof down to the plywood deck, fixing any damage to the plywood, and rebuilding and leak-proofing the roof.