On Wednesday, Sanders Associates, Inc., representative Dan Sanders told The Brazil Times he was close to recommending to the Staunton Town Council that it should go with the current low bidder for the proposed project.
The council opened bids at a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 17. MSI Construction, based in Clinton, offered the lowest bid of $427,600.
"We've got a list of some items that we can work with them on to further reduce the cost," Sanders told The Times.
Sanders said in order for the project to move ahead, the final contract would have to be below $400,000.
"We're at about $400,000 right now," he said.
Funding for the project came from the Indiana Office of Housing and Rural Affairs through a grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Priority Project Resources constructed a grant proposal earlier this year for the project. The town had worked on attaining an Indiana Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for two years in order to secure funding.
The original grant proposal called for $750,000, but had been scaled back to $406,900.
In July, the town secured funding for the project.
Sanders said he expected to have a recommendation for the town council within the next couple of days.
"We're looking at items that are smaller in scope for reduction," he said. "If we find anything we can reduce or modify, we have to be below $400,000 to issue a contract."
Sanders said he thought 10-12 bids may come in for the project. However, when the council opened bids at the special meeting, it only received nine.
"I knew of at least two (construction companies) that picked up packages but didn't bid," Sanders said. "I wasn't surprised by the number of bidders, but I was a little surprised by how high a few of the bidders were.
"In this construction climate, the problem is some of these bidders have trouble getting bonds. Financially, they're being viewed very carefully. We had people that picked up packages and didn't bid."
Sanders had hoped to have a recommendation for the council by Monday. Regardless, he said a proposed October groundbreaking for the center is still on target.
"(The council) would like to have the groundbreaking and signing (of the contract) at the same time," Sanders said. "We still have plenty of time to get contracts prepared and to organize the groundbreaking.
"We're in good shape."