Commissioners open demolition, asbestos-removal bids

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Commission on Monday opened four bids for demolition and three bids for asbestos removal at the former Holding Center in downtown Parkersburg.

Demolition bids were from: Empire Builders of Parkersburg, $25,400; Reclaim Co., Fairmont, $149,999; J.C. Bosley of Parkersburg, $61,900; and Graham Excavating, Parkersburg, $78,800.

Bids for asbestos removal were received from Justice Business Services, Marietta, $22,308; Empire Builders, $11,700; and Reclaim Co., $25,900.

The commissioners referred the bids for review to Bill Brown, county engineer, for a recommendation. Brown was involved with writing the bid specifications.

“Then we can decide whether we want to proceed with demolition or not. Just because we received bids doesn’t mean we have to tear it down, but I personally see no reason not to proceed. We could pay for the demolition and make the money back within a short period of time,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

“We can discuss whether we want to offer the property for sale, have parking we could rent out and keep the property, at least for now,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

The facility has been sitting empty since the Holding Center and Home Confinement operations were moved to the new Wood County Justice Center in January. The county is paying about $8,000 a year plus the cost of insurance to maintain the unoccupied facility.

Prior to being a holding center, the building was the county jail from the time it was constructed in the 1970s until 2001 when the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority was formed and all inmates were transferred to the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County.

The commissioners have repeatedly invited federal and state corrections officials to tour the building and consider purchasing or leasing it for a facility within their systems, but to no avail.

County officials decided to see what the cost of demo and asbestos removal would be and are looking at putting in a parking lot at the location.

Bids were initially received last week for the work.

After commissioners reviewed an opinion issued earlier by Prosecutor Jason Wharton relating to payment of prevailing wage for the work, the county officials decided not to open the bids and continued the bid opening until Monday.

They allowed the bidders to resubmit their bid or keep the bid they had already turned in.

Wharton’s opinion stated since it’s demolition and not construction, state code does not require prevailing wages be paid, which could affect the cost of the job for the firms wishing to bid.