February 19, 2014 - Oxford Township has got itself a new architect.
Last week, the board voted 5-2 to hire the Lake Orion-based Stephen Auger & Associates Architects to provide the architectural services for the proposed 8,375-square-foot addition to the township hall located at 300 Dunlap Rd.
Auger submitted a bid of $45,900 to do the work, which will include providing design development, contract documents, assistance in the selection of a construction manager, and construction management services.
A total of seven bids were received, ranging from $37,900 to $78,130. Auger's bid was the highest of the three lowest bidders.
Auger was recommended to the board by a committee consisting of Supervisor Bill Dunn, Clerk Curtis Wright and Trustee Jack Curtis.
The fact that Auger was the only locally-based architect was a big consideration for the committee. The other architects are based in Farmington, Royal Oak, Grand Blanc Township, Mt. Clemens, Bloomfield and Columbus, Ohio.
"The last thing you'd want to do is screw up" if you're a local business doing work for a government entity, Dunn said.
The township is planning to construct a 4,600-square-foot addition to the northern side of the hall. The upper level would consist of a 2,300-square-foot meeting room with seating for up to 100 people. The lower level would consist of 2,300 square feet of unfinished space for future use.
Using 3,775 square feet of existing unfinished space in the township hall's lower level, officials are planning to construct a substation for Oakland County Sheriff's personnel.
The project is to include locker room facilities for 20 male and 10 female officers, a break room, reception area, public restrooms, detective offices with secure evidence storage, a room to write reports, interview rooms, a sergeant's office and general storage.
The estimated cost of this entire project is $1.26 million and the township is looking to begin construction sometime in the spring or summer.
Trustee Sue Bellairs was displeased that the committee brought back a recommendation to vote on rather than a selection of firms for the full board to interview.
"We've never done this before," Bellairs said. "The board always interviews the top three or the top two or the top five or whatever it is. We don't let the committees just do that."
She was upset that the committee did not follow the board's direction. According to the Dec. 11, 2013 township meeting minutes, the approved motion to solicit bids for architectural services included the language "and bring back three qualified firms to the township board for interviews."
"I didn't know you could do that in a committee – change what the board directs you to do," Bellairs said. "If I'm on a committee, I go by the direction of the board."
It's not that she has a problem with the committee's recommendation per se, it's just that Bellairs believes the full board should do the interviewing.
"I think that it's kind of our responsibility to do that," she said.
Cryderman agreed "the whole board" should be involved when it comes to the interview process and awarding bids.
"There's four other of us members on the board who would like to hear that stuff, too," he said. "I think in the future that's what we should do. I think there's seven of us here who would like to hear what's going on."
Dunn said this committee was "just trying to expedite" the process.
"We're just making a recommendation, Sue," he said. "You can take it or leave it."
"The committee will do whatever this board wants," Dunn noted.
The supervisor explained that "committees are recommending bodies" that "do the groundwork for the board."
"They come back with recommendations and the board acts on them," he sad.
Curtis indicated he was under the impression the committee was supposed to "find the best three (architects) and make the recommendation."
"That's what we worked towards," he said.
"We did not go out there to try to make people mad or to undermine the board's authority," Dunn noted. "We just did what we thought would expedite (things)."
"We tried to just do what we thought was right," the supervisor added.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.