County commissioners learned Monday the value of a dollar isn't going as far these days — especially when it comes to expanding the Cumberland County Justice Center.

The Cumberland County Commission received an update from Steve Hewlett of Hewlett-Spencer and architect Kim Chamberlin of Upland Design regarding the upcoming Justice Center expansion project.

After totaling the bids on the project, Hewlett told commissioners all bids were opened and that there were significant increases over his earlier estimates.

Hewlett revealed new pricing options of building just the housing pod portion of the expansion at a cost no greater than $9,094,629.

Building the Justice Center expansion and incorporating the old high school would come at a cost no greater than $13,656,126.

Building the housing pod, Justice Center expansion and incorporating the old high school would come a cost no greater than $20,314,832.

Hewlett originally estimated the cost of incorporating the old Cumberland High School into the plans of expanding the Justice Center around $16 million. Building the jail house pod alone was originally estimated at around $6 million.

Hewlett explained the current new figures to commissioners.

"Now these prices are not the guaranteed maximum price. I'm hoping the guaranteed maximum will be lower than these. The guaranteed maximum won't exceed these figures, though," said Steve Hewlett of Hewlett Spencer, LLC.

Building the housing pod, Justice Center expansion and incorporating the old high school would with valued engineering would come at a cost no greater than $19,576514.

"The (original) estimated prices were given to you in November and December and those figures were based on market prices at that time. There have been increases since then, but they're not as high as they could have been," Hewlett said.

These figures do not include repair work on the outside gate near the parking area at the rear of the Justice Center or the parking area in the compound area.

According to Hewlett, those additions caused changes, which were then submitted to contractors. Hewlett said that caused an addendum to be added into the project for the bids, had those figures, but didn't have them Monday night.

Hewlett told commissioners there were not as many bids submitted as they anticipated and felt it was due to other agencies being involved in jail construction projects in Morgan County and Bledsoe County.

"What really killed us was the electrical. There was only one electrical bid and that was $2.3 million over our estimate. The masonry was up some and so was the mechanical ... normally you don't have to beg people to bid on a project," Hewlett said.

The figures are good for 60 days Hewlett said.

"We expect to be able to come to you next month for a meeting with a guaranteed maximum price," Steve Hewlett said.

The full expansion to the Justice Center will add four courtrooms, all with space for jury trials, space for court clerks' offices and office space for two general sessions judges.

It also includes a 96-bed jail pod, and provides secure transport for inmates from the jail portion of the building to courtrooms meaning inmates would not come in contact with the public.

Hewlett previously estimated the cost of the 96-bed pod construction alone to be around $6 million.

"So you're showing an increase of about 50-percent on building just the jail pod alone?" 9th District Commissioner Carmin Lynch asked.

"Yes, that's right. Now that doesn't include any valued engineering, though. That figure could be lower," Hewlett replied.

A work session with the county commission is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. to discuss the project and go over the guaranteed maximum price figures.

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