Weathers awarded Calstar contract

October 22, 2013 11:16:03 AM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


Lowndes County supervisors accepted a bid from Weathers Construction on Monday to renovate the spec building that will house a CalStar plant. 


The local company's bid, $3,113,415, was the lowest out of six the county received. The county originally opened bids Sept. 14 but rejected all nine of those and re-advertised for services because they were significantly higher than the $3.4-$3.7 million estimated cost. A special meeting was necessary because the company couldn't afford to wait until the next regular meeting on Nov. 4 due to weather concerns that could cause delays in construction. 


The contract includes a $2.94 million base bid plus $50,000 for electrical work and $123,415 on a storage area. 


Joseph Henderson with JBHM Architects oversaw the process and said the second round of bids was opened last Wednesday. 


"The goal is...we would do a pre-construction meeting Wednesday," he said. "The notice to proceed would be for next Monday and we would go to work." 


The county formally purchased the 23.4-acre project site and 100,000-square-foot building shell from Agracel in July and agreed to lease the facility to the Wisconsin-based sustainable building materials manufacturer. CalStar officials said its new location would create 17 jobs to begin with and 58 over a three-year period. Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said in April the number of employees could eventually reach 100. 


The county was approved for a 20-year, $5.35 million loan through the Mississippi Development Authority to buy the property for $2.35 million and use the rest to assist with renovation. Lenders committed $5 million in debt financing for additional funding. 


Golden Triangle Planning and Development District project analyst George Crawford previously said the county would be responsible for paying a fee if the company does not reach its 58-employee goal.  


The company's products require 81 percent less energy than similar building products to manufacture while emitting up to 84 percent less carbon dioxide during production, CalStar officials said in a release. 


Other bidders included Amason & Associates, CIG Contractors, Conn Construction Company, JESCO and T&M Steel Erectors.

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.