The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors threw out initial bids for interior construction on a new library in Atascadero on Tuesday, disappointing city leaders who had hoped the work would be done by the planned centennial celebration later this year.
Supervisors Frank Mecham and Paul Teixeira dissented in the 3-2 vote.
The two lowest original bidders were within $21,000 of each other. Maino Construction Co. had the low bid, at $2,819,000. Santa Margarita Construction Corp. came in at $2,840,000.
Santa Margarita Construction Corp. challenged the award to Maino. The challenge went to a county Protest Hearing Board consisting of staff from General Services, County Counsel and Public Works; they decided to throw out the bids.
The issue of contention was that Maino Construction hadn’t identified specific hardware trade names that were to be used in the remodel. The county uses standardized specific materials from hardware to fire alarms in its properties. Maino Construction hadn’t specified which materials it would use, and the protest board found that that oversight could lead to added “substantial costs” in the future.
“Standardization will allow the county to maintain compatibility with the county and to maximize staff (efficiencies) in servicing these systems,” according to a report from Janette Pell, director of General Services and member of the protest board.
The call for new bids is a blow to members of Friends of the Atascadero Library and city leaders who had hoped to open the new library as part of the city’s centennial celebration this year. It now appears that opening will be pushed to 2014.
“Our community through the Friends of the Library worked tirelessly to build our library in time for our centennial,” Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley previously told The Tribune. “I wish the county was more diligent on this community priority,”
“We are very disappointed that construction has not been able to go forward this month,” Friends President Grenda Ernst said. The Friends of the Atascadero Library has been working toward a larger library since the 1980s.
The county will have 32 percent of the space and create a North County Services Center on part of the second floor.
The library portion will double the size of the current library and add areas for youth programs and more computers with public Internet access.
The county took lead agency status in seeking bids because the 22,000-square foot library, to be located at 6555 Capistrano Ave. in downtown Atascadero, is owned by the county and will house a County Services Center. New bids must be returned by May 16, with construction on the multimillion-dollar improvements slated to begin in July.