Bexley officials said they were pleasantly surprised Tuesday when the second round of bids were released for the proposed police station on Delmar Avenue.

Bexley officials said they were pleasantly surprised Tuesday when the second round of bids were released for the proposed police station on Delmar Avenue.

The lowest base bid result, from central Ohio-based Thomas and Marker Construction, came in at $5.4-million -- $34,000 less than the estimate given by Horne and King Architects.

The next two lowest bidders on the base estimate were Gutkenecht Construction and Altman and Altman Architects, which placed bids at $5.43-million and $5.44-million, respectively.

The seven companies that responded to the city's bid request also were asked to bid on three alternatives to the base plan, which included a lightning protection system and alternate choices for security system providers, said Mac Ware, a preconstruction manger with Quandel Construction Services who is working with Bexley service director Bill Harvey as the owner's representative on the project.

The lowest bidder for the lightning protection alternative was Robertson Construction, which bid $5,950 on the option that Horne and King estimated at $8,000.

The other base bids were: Robertson Construction, $5.48-million; Ferguson Construction Co., $5.5-million; Charter Hill Construction, $5.57-million; and 2K General Construction Co., $5.59-million.

Ware said companies were asked to bid on fewer alternatives in the second round of bidding because more of the alternatives, such as a shooting range, a fence and evidence equipment, were included in the base bids this time around.

The rebidding came after city council members rejected the first round of bid results Sept. 4.

David King from Horne and King originally estimated the city should expect bids around $4-million. The estimated cost was revised after the first round of bids came back almost $1-million more than expected.

The base bid estimate for the bids published this week also reflected changes in the HVAC system and materials to reduce costs.

The next step, according to Bexley Mayor John Brennan, is to examine references for the lowest bidders and to have council officially vote to approve the bids and the additional money needed to go forward with the project.

Council president Matt Lampke said he will likely call a special council meeting to follow the special finance committee meeting that's scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7. If the meeting is not called, council members will discuss the bids at their regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 14.

City building manager Kathy Rose said the city already has coordinated with the local fire department to conduct a controlled training fire for a small building on the Delmar Avenue site Oct. 13. After the building is burned, the city service department will demolish and haul away the debris, readying the site for groundbreaking.

Brennan said he was pleased with the bid results and is excited to move forward with the process.

"We came in a lot better than last time," he said. "They all were right in the ballpark."

Police Chief Larry Rinehart said he is cautiously optimistic about the proposed station.

"I'll be happy when we dig a hole," he said.