Construction on Harford Community College's Nursing and Allied Health building could be delayed yet again after the members of the HCC Board of Trustees unanimously rejected Tuesday all bids offered on the project.
Board members discussed the bids during a closed session, which followed their regular open meeting in the conference room of HCC's Chesapeake Center. They then returned to open session and voted.
College President Dennis Golladay recommended the board reject all bids offered "because they exceed the budget" for the project. The bids were opened at the end of last month and the board was hoping to be able to approve a contract at Tuesday's meeting.
HCC has budgeted $10,333,000 in the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget – the total project. The board had approved allocating $7,090,000 in the current year's capital budget, for a total project cost of 17,423,000, The Aegis reported last December.
Construction had been expected to begin in May and completed by August 2014.
Board Chair Bryan Kelly read Golladay's recommendation to the board.
"Further, the board directs that a request for re-bids be initiated immediately," Kelly continued.
The eight bidders, according to Victor Dodson, assistant vice president for procurement, were Bancroft Construction Company of Wilmington, Del., CAM Construction of Timonium, Coakley & Williams Construction of Bethesda, Grunley Mascaro Construction of Rockville, the Kinsley Construction Co. of Timonium, Lewis Contractors Inc. of Owings Mills, Skanska USA Building Inc. of Rockville and Turner Construction Co. of Baltimore.
Dodson noted after the meeting that Gregory Deal, associate vice president for campus operations, had even reduced the "scope" of the project to help control the costs.
"The message to the market is, 'We need lower bids,' " Dodson said.
He said those who have already submitted bids can offer new bids. The re-bids must be submitted by April 26, and the board will review them when it meets that night.
The Nursing and Allied Health project includes building a three-story, 54,000-square-foot facility to house all of HCC's nursing programs.
It will be built on land on the west side of Thomas Run Road. The college's Towson Building will be built next door to give HCC students space to take Towson University classes.
Dodson and Kelly said Wednesday they do not expect the re-bid process to delay the anticipated start of construction this spring.
"We're very hopeful that, with the re-bid process, that we will be able to consider bids at our work session April 26," Kelly said.
The board chair said the bids would be presented and voted on during an open session, "and we are very optimistic and realistic that the project will move forward in a timely fashion."
Claudia Brown, faculty advisor to Owl Magazine, and John Parks, the magazine's student editor in chief, gave a presentation to board members on the award-winning campus publication.
The bi-monthly magazine debuted in October 2011 in place of the college's monthly student newspaper, "The Harford Owl."
"The future of print media is not in newspapers," Brown told board members. "Newspapers are a dying industry and we want our students to be on the cutting edge."
Last month, the magazine's student staffers were presented with national Apple Awards from the National College Media Association, including second place in the Best Magazine Cover and Two-Page Spread categories.
Print copies of the magazine are placed in stands around campus, as well as in neighboring businesses and other public places. A digital version can be found online.
"We're really lucky because we have the very best of both worlds right now," Brown said.
She explained that the magazine format allows writers to tell more in-depth stories, and is a greater showcase for student photographers, graphic designers and other visual artists.
The 28-person staff is made up of HCC students and some alumni. Staffers can earn academic credit or work on a volunteer basis.
"We definitely have high turnover rates, but we also have this very committed group of students who keep coming back," Brown said.
Tennis courts on track
Rick Johnson, vice president for finance and operations, gave updates on a number of capital projects Tuesday, including the campus' tennis courts.
Construction is partially complete, but has been delayed because of weather this year. Johnson said the HCC tennis teams have been practicing at local high schools.
"They'd like to have a home court and we're working as quickly as we can to get it done," he said.