HCC trustees OK nearly $4.5 million contract for Fallston Hall renovation

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A nearly $4.5 million contract with Jeffrey Brown Contracting, of Towson, to oversee a 10-month renovation of Fallston Hall at Harford Community College was approved by the Board of Trustees Tuesday evening.

The board approved the $4.49 million contract by unanimous vote. Jeffrey Brown was the lowest of seven bidders who responded to the college’s invitation for bids from general contractors, Joseph Harbouk, vice president for finance and administration, said.

The highest bid of $4.95 million was offered by Lewis Contractors, of Owings Mills, according to documents from Tuesday’s meeting.

Renovations to the classroom building are scheduled to start in January and officials plan to reopen it to faculty and students in January of 2020, Harbouk said.

The scope of the project includes replacing the roof, as well as upgrades to electrical, mechanical and life safety systems, Harbouk said.

“Fallston Hall has not had any major renovations for about 20 years now, so it is really time to renovate it,” he told the trustees.

The Fallston Hall renovation is included in HCC’s facilities master plan, and the project is covered in the fiscal 2019 capital improvement plan the board adopted this past spring, according to Harbouk.

Brian Walker, a new trustee, who joined the board in August, asked about college officials’ selection of Jeffrey Brown as the “lowest responsible bidder.”

He said there had been “a lot of due diligence” prior to selecting the contractor for the board’s approval.

“Are we confident that they are the most responsible bidder and that they can do everything, not just [be] the lowest bidder?” Walker asked.

Louis Claypoole, director of campus operations, said he contacted references for Jeffrey Brown, and they provided “outstanding” reviews.

Claypoole said one reference was the project manager for HCC’s Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, or TUNE, building. That facility, where students who have earned an associate’s degree from Harford can take classes to complete a Towson University bachelor’s degree, opened on the west side of the HCC campus in 2014.

Jeffrey Brown was “highly recommended” by the reference, based on work the company has done for Towson, according to Claypoole.

“They actually prefer [Jeffrey Brown] when they do projects at their school,” he said.

The renovation project will be funded by the county and state, according to Brenda Morrison, chief of staff and vice president of external relations and communications.

Harford County’s approved capital budget for the current fiscal year appropriated almost $5.9 million toward the project.

Most of the faculty will relocate from Fallston Hall to Darlington Hall during the renovation, while others will go to the Forest Hill building that is home to HCC’s Early Learning Center for preschool children, Morrison said.

The Forest Hill facility is being renovated to accommodate the incoming faculty. Those spaces will be used for a “teaching-learning lab” for the college’s education program when they move out, according to Morrison.

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