020118 Pawleys Island: New round of bids for Town Hall aims to lower cost
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The future Town Hall site was once occupied by a store, seen in this photo from the Pawleys Island Civic Association collection.

Pawleys Island: New round of bids for Town Hall aims to lower cost

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A new round of bidding is under way for the new Pawleys Island Town Hall, with four contractors being asked to provide alternate pricing on several items in an effort to reduce the cost.

Bids opened in December ranged from $800,400 to $890,000 for the 2,000-square-foot facility planned for the corner of Myrtle Avenue and the North Causeway, just south of the old Town Hall that was flooded by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The town’s initial estimate for the project was $450,000 and Town Council agreed to raise $600,000 in private donations.

There are four key changes: a different foundation design, different manufacturers for the windows and elevator, and different specifications for the brickwork. “Things that don’t change to look at all,” Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri said. “We’re talking about 100 grand.”

The change in the foundation design from a continuous pouring to pilings was made possible after the town got the results of a soil test for the site, which once contained a store.

There are other areas where the town could save money on the building, such as using shingles rather than a metal roof, but those will change the appearance. It will be up to Town Council to decide whether to accept those alternates, Fabbri said. The new bids will be opened next Thursday in the old Town Hall.

The town has been operating from a temporary office set up in the Nature Park after Hurricane Matthew. The council, which has been meeting in the Pawleys Island Chapel, is looking for temporary quarters while that building undergoes renovations. It met in the old Town Hall last month. “It was good for nostalgia, but we’re not doing that again,” Fabbri said.

The council voted in January to reject all the initial bids for the new Town Hall. It solicited bids from 10 firms. Four responded: Pinnacle Construction, the low bidder; BEC Construction; Coastal Structures; and Harrington Construction.

The process prompted a lawsuit from a Murrells Inlet man who told the town he wanted to bid on the project, but whose request for bid documents was denied. Thomas G. Davis claims the town violated its ordinances along with state and federal law.

The town filed a motion last week asking that the suit be dismissed “for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.” It also filed a counterclaim seeking damages for a “frivolous lawsuit.”

The suit was filed “with disregard of the public records for Georgetown County,” Town Attorney David DuRants states in his filing, “which has therefore caused a reckless disregard for its truth, and was filed merely to harass or injure the defendants’ reputation.”

The town is seeking payment of its costs and “general damages” to be determined at trial. No date has been set for a hearing.

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