New animal shelter in Fallston, Joppatowne High turf field approved

Two long discussed projects – a new animal shelter for the Humane Society of Harford County on Connolly Road in Fallston and a new synthetic turf field at Joppatowne High School – have been cleared for construction to the tune of a combined cost of $7.3 million.

A new animal shelter either on its existing site or at another location in the Bel Air area has been talked about for years. The talk is coming to an end as the Harford County government has agreed to spend nearly $5.8 million with Towson Mechanical Inc., of Parkville to build a new single story building, including all demolition, site work and road improvements, in Fallston.

Towson Mechanical made the lowest of six bids at $5,787,600 that includes the base bid of $5,632,000 and additional options of $76,200 for skylights and tubes, another $58,600 for signs for the building and the road entrance and $20,800 to add an exam room and a treatment room.

The next lowest bidder was Mackenzie Contracting, of Lutherville, which offered to build it for $5.85 million. The highest bidder was Mark Builders Inc., of Joppa, which offered to do the work for $6.245 million.

The Harford County Board of Estimates voted for the contract with Towson Mechanical during its Thursday meeting in Bel Air. Warren Hamilton, the county council's citizen appointee, abstained.

Hamilton said later via email that his firm, J. Vinton Schafer & Sons, of Abingdon, also bid on the project. Schafer offered a $6.12 million bid, according to Board of Estimates documents.

When Joppatowne High School gets its synthetic turf field, which was also approved Thursday morning, that will leave only Fallston and Patterson Mill high schools among Harford County's public high schools without synthetic turf fields.

Dave Goodwin, of the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation, made the presentation about the Joppatowne High School synthetic turf field, which will replace the 42-year-old school's grass field, and improvements to the stadium to make it accessible for disabled spectators.

County Councilman Jim McMahan, sitting in for Council President Billy Boniface, asked why the board was not approving a $1.2 million contract that would be for the field only, one of options in the bid specifications.

Debbie Henderson, county director of procurement and an estimates board member, explained to McMahan that the school system will reimburse the county for the cost of the stadium improvements. Goodwin concurred, saying the costs will be shared by the county government and the county school system, which will contribute $320,000 toward the stadium improvements. The county will cover the cost of the field.

The board unanimously approved the $1,544,980 bid from Green Construction LLC, of Pylesville, one of three bids received.

Dixie Construction's bid for the turf field and stadium improvements was higher at $1,574,692. The apparent low bidder was Sports Construction Management Inc. of Lexington, N.C., which bid $1,290,408.75.

When asked to affirm it would complete the project for that price, however, "SCM reviewed the request and responded back with a request to rescind their bid for this project," citing clerical errors, according to the estimate's board's bid documents.

Stadium improvements will include a variety of ramps, aluminum hand rails and pedestrian walkways, etc.

Aegis staff member Ted Hendricks contributed to this article.

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