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Construction company warns of price hikes for Dane Co. Jail project proposal in 2023

Madison, Wis. – An internal county memo from the Department of Administration to the Dane County Board of Supervisors indicates that construction costs for the Dane County Jail Consolidation Project could increase even more under a proposal unveiled earlier this month.

RELATED: Dane County Board of Supervisors Black Caucus Unveils New Plan for Jail Consolidation Project

Officials with a construction company used by the county estimate a 6 to 8% increase and a ten-month delay to the county’s public works department if a plan introduced by the Black Caucus to scale back to five stories is adopted. and remove medical and mental health beds.

In a memo to supervisors, the company estimated that a 10-month delay could result in a 6% to 8% increase in project costs in 2023, adding $6.6 to $9.2 million to the total construction cost. Those estimates could go up or down depending on the economy next year.

“This increase is related to continued growth in the construction industry at an unprecedented rate,” a Gilbane representative said in an email to the Department of Public Works.

“We really need to lock into the design and stick with it,” Public Works Director Todd Draper told News 3 Now. “Once we decide what that is, we really need to move forward with no delays and no redesigns. It needs to move quickly. Construction is very volatile right now and it’s very difficult to get these numbers and get contractors to hold the numbers for long periods of time.

Here’s a look at the history of the project and where it stands now.

2016: The report recommended closing the Dane County Jail and moving residents to a renovated facility with “urgency” due to poor conditions at the jail.

2017: The Dane County Board approved a plan to add four floors to the current city-county jail building for $75 million.

2019: Due to structural problems, the board scrapped plans for a new seven-story tower costing $148 million. Currently, ballooning construction costs have pushed the original plan to $190 million.

March 2022: With the jail project over budget, the board found a compromise earlier this year. In March, the board approved a new plan that cut ground and about $30 million from the 2019 plan. The project for the six-story tower originally came in at $166 million, but due to delays and rising construction costs, it is now at $175 million.

Dane County Public Works Director Todd Draper said construction design plans for the facility are 95% complete. A referendum is needed to secure the additional $10 million needed to get the project moving; The County Board needs to approve the referendum soon to get it on the ballot in November and avoid further delays.

August 2022: In early August, the Dane County Board of Supervisors’ block caucus unveiled a new plan that would cut another floor of the tower and remove intensive care beds to keep the project under its current $166 million budget.

However, an internal memo obtained by News 3 Now shows county officials said the project will cause a 10-month delay as architects now take several steps back on design plans for the five-story tower.

The Black Caucus’ plan comes before the full board for a vote on Thursday; Last week, the county’s Public Works and Transportation Committee recommended rejecting it.

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