The Mohave County Supervisors voted 3-0 Tuesday to terminate the county's contract with an architectural firm hired to design the proposed law and justice center and opted to seek bids from architects to design a new Mohave County Sheriff's Office.
The supervisors voted to terminate the contract with HDR Architecture Inc.
of Dallas because plans for designing a separate MCSO building exceed the scope of an initial contract awarded in January 2000.
The supervisors paid HDR $2.6 million.
The decision to terminate the contract does not reflect on the performance of HDR, Interim County Manager Dick Skalicky said after the meeting.
"They are a great organization," Skalicky said.
He said the county plans a "different concept" by splitting the proposed building for MCSO from the law and justice center and building it on a separate location: next to the jail annex on West Beale Street.
The supervisors plan to build a county complex housing other offices in downtown Kingman near Superior Court.
HDR studied the downtown and Armory sites as well as a Golden Valley site backed by the previous board.
Two HDR representatives, vice president Michael Brenchley and managing principal W.
Alan Turley, urged the supervisors not to terminate the contract.
Turley said HDR was the most qualified firm that applied for the contract, and described a decision to terminate the contract as premature.
"Mull this over for a period of time," Brenchley told the supervisors.
However, when contacted after the meeting, Brenchley indicated that HDR plans to respond to the request for proposals that the county will issue to recruit an architect.
"I think we are highly qualified" to bid on the project, he said.
"I think we know the issues as well as anyone and the issue is tailoring whatever the architectural and engineering services are to what it is (county officials) really need."
The new sheriff's office will cover 23,000 square feet with the possibility of an additional 5,000 to 7,000 square feet for a medical examiner's facility, Sheriff Tom Sheahan said.
The supervisors plan to complete the bid process in three months and then take 18 months to two years to build the MCSO office, Skalicky said.
Skalicky projects building costs of $120 per square foot for the main building and $180 per square foot for the medical examiner, also known as a morgue.
Asked why the morgue would cost more to build, he said, "The morgue is a medical-type facility and it also includes refrigeration" for bodies.
The MCSO currently is located in a condemned building on West Beale Street that formerly housed the county hospital.
Supervisor Buster Johnson motioned to terminate the contract with HDR, and supervisors Pete Byers and Tom Sockwell concurred.
Skalicky then urged the supervisors to approve the bidding process and direct staff on square footage.
"We need a sheriff's and coroner's office," said Johnson.
"I want to see a plan before final approval."
"We can ask for a plan to include projections," Byers said.
"We are probably looking at a building that will cost $5.5 million."
The sheriff's office should be designed to meet the needs of MCSO for 20 years, Sockwell said.
In a related move, Sockwell persuaded his peers to instruct staff to study how the county plans to pay for the county complex as well as cost projections.
The previous board passed a quarter-percent sales tax that is projected to raise $125.9 million over a 20-year period.