$5,749,402 in jail construction contracts already awarded

At least $18,046,902 in contracts have been conveyed in connection with the new jail

While construction contractors prepare bids in one or more of 20 categories for construction of Winnebago County’s imminent $130 million jail, three businesses have already received a total of $5,749,402 in jail construction contracts.

The big winner was Sjostrom and Sons Inc., which received a $3,863,000 contract Dec. 28 when they were the only bidder to construct the jail’s foundation. A local construction industry source said although there are occasions when there may only be one bidder for a job, the source thought it was unusual that no Chicago-area construction firms submitted a proposal.

Fisher Excavating Inc. received a $997,022 contract Nov. 4 for utility installation, and water and sewer relocation at the site, which is in Rockford’s downtown on the southwest corner of West State Street and Rockton Avenue. Fisher beat Stenstrom General Contractor-Design Build Group as the lowest responsible bidder for the project.

Northern Illinois Service Co. was awarded a $889,380 contract Dec. 28 for rough excavation. Three other contractors vied for the work: Rockford Blacktop Construction Co., Fisher Excavating and Stenstrom.

Before construction work began, the jail’s architectural team, which is led by The Durrant Group Inc., of Madison, Wis., received a $5.8 million contract in May 2003 for design of the 988- to 1,212-bed jail. The Durrant team includes local firms Larson and Darby Inc., and PG Architecture. Together they contributed $1,250 to the Winnebago County Citizens for Public Safety 2002 campaign, which persuaded voters to pass the tax that is paying for the jail’s construction.

Bovis Lend Lease Inc., of Chicago and local firms Scandroli Construction Co., and Ringland-Johnson comprise the jail’s construction management team that is responsible for awarding all the contracts associated with the jail’s construction. The construction management team, known as SRB, was awarded a $6.5 million contract in August 2003.

Industry standards for construction managers is usually 2 to 3 percent of the cost of the project. SRB’s $6.5 million means they are receiving 1 and 2/3 the industry rate of pay for their work, based upon a $130 million project.

Winnebago County administrators plan to open bids for jail construction contracts at a special meeting March 17. Construction of the jail is expected to be complete about five months before an agreement the county forged with lawyers for plaintiff and former inmate Timothy Chatmon.

The agreement calls for the jail to be built by Oct. 1, 2007.

With the encouragement of his attorney, John F. Heckinger Jr., Chatmon filed a federal jail overcrowding lawsuit in 2000, which prompted construction of the jail. Even though Chatmon’s attorneys, Heckinger and Thomas E. Greenwald, have been paid for their work, Chatmon has received nothing for his cooperation with the lawsuit.

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