Construction bids opened for renovation work on McKee, Bird buildings

CULLOWHEE – Two renovation projects at Western Carolina University — one to modernize the historic McKee Classroom Building and another to turn Bird Building into a student health center — are due to get under way this spring following the recent opening of contractor bids.

Work on both buildings was bid as a single project. Eighteen firms submitted multi-prime bids, and four of the same firms submitted single-prime bids, said Chuck Wooten, Western’s vice chancellor for administration and finance.

The university accepted the lowest single-prime bid of $4,561,000, covering the general contract, plumbing, mechanical and electrical work on the two buildings, plus 11 alternates. That bid was submitted by Denark Construction Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn., Wooten said.

Bids were opened Thursday, Feb. 14. Funding for the renovations will come from money made available through the November 2000 higher education bond approved by North Carolina voters.

The McKee Building was constructed in 1939 and named in honor of Gertrude Dills McKee, first woman to be elected to the state senate and a two-term member of Western’s board of trustees. After general renovations to configure classrooms for collegiate instruction, install adequate wiring, improve access and eliminate water intrusion on the ground floor, the building will provide instructional space for the departments of history and modern foreign languages, and for academic advisement and student support services.

Bird Building, which once served as WCU’s administration building, was built in 1960 and named after W. Ernest Bird, acting president of the university from 1947 to 1949 and president from 1956 to 1957. The structure will be renovated to house the Student Health Center. Plans call for the building to be rewired with current electrical and information technology systems, air conditioning to be installed, spaces reconfigured, and the second floor renovated to improve access.

Work on both buildings is expected to begin in April, and be completed by April 2003. The designer for both projects is Woolpert LLP of Charlotte.

Three other firms submitted single-prime general construction bids, covering all aspects of construction, plus 11 alternates. They were Crossley Construction Corp. of Knoxville, $4,647,410; Eagle Wood Inc. of Denver, $5,117,363; and Hudak and Dawson Construction Co. Inc. of Gadsen, Ala., $5,582,238.

Five multi-prime bids, including four alternates, were received for the general contract. They included Denark Construction Inc., $2,444,000; Crossley Construction Corp., $2,478,500; Eagle Wood Inc., $2,852,718; Hickory Construction Co. of Hickory, $3,013,900; and Hudak and Dawson Construction Co. Inc., $3,483,000. One bidder on the general contract was disqualified.

Two multi-prime bids, including three alternates, were received for plumbing work. They were Industrial Maintenance and Overflow Corp. of Fletcher, $204,297; and Bolton Corp. of Asheville, $226,150. One bidder for plumbing work was disqualified.

Five multi-prime bids, including one alternate, were received for mechanical (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) work. They were Martin Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Hendersonville, $1,130,183; Bolton Corp., $1,179,800; Industrial Maintenance and Overflow Corp., $1,183,000; Charlotte Temperature Controls Inc. of Charlotte, $1,287,100; and Triangle Contractors Inc. of Morganton, $1,329,000.

Three multi-prime bids, including three alternates, were received for electrical work. They were Haynes Electric Construction Co. of Asheville, $717,427; Emory Electric Inc. of Asheville, $801,231; and Hayes and Lunsford Electrical Contractors Inc. of Asheville, $790,200. One bid for electrical work was withdrawn.