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Board approves Simkins basketball courts contract

The beginning of “March Madness” this week had nothing to do with the decision to complete the proposed basketball courts at Simkins Park this month.

Pahrump Town Board members voted recently to approve the engineering bid award for the project on the far north end of the valley.

Basketball courts, it seems, are not cheap to construct.

Of the five contractors who submitted bids, Rowley Contracting out of Las Vegas was awarded the bid.

Rowley’s bid of $116,324 was more than $13,500 less than the second lowest bid.

Architect Les W. Travis from Gary Guy Wilson Architects firm told the board that Rowley’s bids met all of the specifications for the project.

“In this particular case, the low bidder was well prepared to perform the site grading and associated work in developing the basketball courts,” he said.

Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan had serious issues on at least one aspect of the bid submitted by Rowley.

Dolan noted a $7,500 item description for construction conflicts and additional work allowances did not sit well with him.

“The way I look at that additional money being tossed in there now, is giving them carte blanche to change orders and I don’t like change orders,” Dolan said. “I think if a company is going to bid, they are going to bid appropriately the first time if they have done their homework. I am in agreement in issuing the bid with this company, but personally, I don’t like sticking an additional $7,500 in there for what ifs. If a change order needs to be done, it needs to be prepared and brought back to us and not automatically approved.”

Buildings and Grounds Director Matt Luis informed Dolan that any kind of construction project can reveal unanticipated problems where additional funding is needed to complete the work.

He did not see the $7,500 incidental item as unreasonable or unusual.

“There are very few projects that are perfect. Nobody likes change orders but anything that is not used as far as change orders will not be charged to the project, period,” he said.

Travis, meanwhile, expanded on Luis’ response by suggesting that Dolan’s solution could in fact cost the town additional money for the work.

“If there is a situation on the site during construction, the contractor will probably say if it’s going to take more than a week to make the change order, he will be forced to extend his schedule and want additional money to extend the schedule. Because we don’t necessarily have the ability to make that decision right away, the probability is that the general contractor can seize upon us and take advantage of that. They do that by telling us that we have extended the contract. They can come up with other reasons to add additional costs to the project,” he said.

Town Manager Susan Holecheck told Dolan that if there were change orders added to the contract, they will be inspected with a fine-tooth comb to ensure both accuracy and legitimacy.

“We understand that you give us permission to do things, but you hold us to doing the best job we can. We never want change orders but they are a reality. With having a meeting the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, I hope you will trust staff and know that we are not going to carte blanche change orders. This project in my opinion is already behind schedule. I really wanted to see our youth playing on these basketball courts in March,” she said.

Following further discussion, board members voted 3-1 to approve to the bid.

Dolan provided the dissenting nay vote while Amy Riches was absent.

Board members are also expected to address issues pertaining to the condition of the basketball courts at Petrack Park during a future meeting.

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