Douglas County commissioners agreed Wednesday to solicit proposals for a management firm to oversee contracts and construction of a proposed new consolidated Public Works facility.
In 2011, the county bought about 34 acres of land next to the county jail along southeast 25th Street to house the new facility as well as the new Lawrence Community Shelter. Currently, the department's engineering and administration division and the maintenance division are housed in separate locations.
Normal procedures call for the county itself to solicit bids from construction companies to build the facility. But after a public hearing Wednesday, commissioners agreed to seek proposals from a construction management firm that would manage bids from contractors as well as subcontractors.
Officials said the new facility is still in the design phase and no official cost estimates have yet been made. But earlier informal estimates have put the cost in the neighborhood of $8 million, which the county would fund through general obligation bonds.
Commissioners won't give final approval to begin the project until the design is completed, bids are received and contracts are approved. Assuming all of those phases go as planned, construction is expected to begin in the fall.
In other business, the commission:
• Gave final approval to new zoning regulations governing permits for agritourism businesses and special events in unincorporated areas of the county.
• Approved a conditional use permit for Hoyt Boat Storeage at 32 North 1000 Road near Clinton Lake.
• And made several appointments to the Bicycle Advisory Committee, Douglas County Food Policy Council and Lawrence-Douglas County Advocacy Council on Aging.