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City bids over budget?
Developmental center searching for temporary home to make way for animal shelter renovation

By Chris Paschenko 340-2442

A state-run development center is searching for a temporary home until it can move into its new city-funded building.

Decatur budgeted $650,000 to construct a building for the Centers for the Developmentally Disabled of North Central Alabama. But the low bid, plus an architectural fee, could be more than budgeted.

Bids for the building at Central Parkway Southwest were opened Thursday at the office of Decatur architect Fred Underwood.

"The low bid was approximately $626,000," Underwood said, "and the low bidder was E tech Construction in Hartselle."

Seven companies bid on the project.

Underwood, who spoke to The Daily on Thursday while en route to a meeting, said he believed his fee was 7 percent of the project. That would place the project $19,820 over budget.

The city plans to move the center from Beltline Road Southwest.

A $1 million renovation will then convert the old center into an animal shelter.

Earl Brightwell, director of the center, said it serves 67 disabled people from across Morgan County.

City Councilman Ronny Russell, the council's liaison to the animal shelter, said he didn't know when construction would begin at Central Parkway Southwest.

"I don't know the construction time specified in their bid," Russell said. "We are working with the developmental center to find them a temporary building while their new one is constructed so that the renovations can begin" on the animal shelter.

Gail Busbey, Decatur's chief financial officer, said the city would present a check at the time of the contract signing.

Kelvin Callahan, owner of E tech Construction, said plans call for a 10,200-square-foot, single-story, pre-engineered metal building.

"There will be a contract prepared between E tech and the city," Callahan said. "It could take a few days for that to come about."

Busbey said the City Council approved funding for the center in this past fiscal year's budget, but the money wasn't spent and carried over to this year's budget.

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