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CNI Comes in with Low Bid for Courthouse Project


Tuesday afternoon, the Mississippi County Quorum Court's Energy and Property (EP) Committee met with architect Aaron Ruby to discuss plans for the courthouse project and the landscape around the courthouse.

Justice Slyvester Belcher was slotted to chair the EP Committee but Belcher has been out all year, and Justice Molly Jackson has chaired the committee in his absence. However, Jackson was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting so Justice Rick Ash chaired the meeting.

Ruby told the committee that they had received four bids on the courthouse renovation project. The lowest bid came from Contruction Network Inc. (CNI), out of Jonesboro, at $11.1 million.

"I think (CNI) is a good contractor," Ruby said. "I think you got a good price, a good contractor and I don't see any strong reason why you would not award the project to CNI."

Ash stated that CNI worked on the aviation building and he believes they also did the nursing building at Arkansas Northeastern College.

Ruby stated that the next lowest bid came in at $11.9 million. The highest bid came in at $13.2 million.

After Justice Neil Burge asked about the roof project on both the Blytheville and Osceola courthouses, Ruby stated that the county will save some money because both CNI and the roofing company - Renaissance Roofing, Inc. - have scaffolding the Blytheville courthouse in their bids. Ruby said money will come back to Mississippi County by asking one of them to do it and the other to not.

Ruby stated he got a price back from Renaissance that was $80,000 that would come back to Mississippi County and to let CNI take care of the scaffolding.

Ruby added that every office in the courthouse is getting new furniture and is budgeted for $750,000.

Justice Michael White asked about the plans presented of the possible courthouse landscaping and asked County Judge John Alan Nelson if the city of Blytheville will allow them to close Chickasawba?

Judge Nelson stated that he has been in negotiations with the Blytheville City Council and would be speaking at the Blytheville City Council meeting later that evening, which he did.

Blytheville City Councilman Matt Perrin was in attendance at the meeting but didn't speak nor was asked.

White added that the landscaping is a beautiful plan and he hoped it works out.

Ruby added that according to old maps Chickasawba Street stopped at Third Street and didn't go through the parking lot until sometime after 1923.

Ash asked what was the next thing the county would be seeing and Ruby stated a chain-link fence. On Thursday, the Mississippi County Extension Cooperative service building was torn down.

Later in the meeting, White asked Ruby what was the timeline on the roof project in Osceola.

Ruby stated that crews will work on Blytheville first and that should take until around summer and then they will move to Osceola and best case scenario would be done by end of next year.

The committee finished the meeting by hiring Porter Brownlee by contract for $108,000. Brownlee will attend construction meetings and make sure the contractors are staying within budget. Ruby stated he represents owners on larger construction projects.

Ruby added that he comes every two weeks, if not every week, inspecting the work and has been in the business for many years.

Justice Betty Hepler made the motion and Justice JoAnne Henton seconded the motion.

Ash stated that since he will be dealing with the construction project, it doesn't need to go to the Finance committee and that he'd be hired immediately.

"It's a good idea," Ash said. " I think we need it."

The committee said that it wouldn't need to go to the full court and all eight justices present at the meeting said it was a good idea.