The Union County Council of Governments (COG) awarded a $255,800 contract to the Gudenkauf Corp. to build a consolidated information technology (IT) network.

The Union County Council of Governments (COG) awarded a $255,800 contract to the Gudenkauf Corp. to build a consolidated information technology (IT) network.

Team Fishel bid $420,810 on the project and U.S. Utility Contractor Co. Inc. bid $442,400.

The COG -- comprised of county commissioners, the city of Marysville and Marysville's schools -- is paying to connect the city and county IT networks with the school district's existing fiber network with a $400,000 interest-free loan secured in June from the state.

"We're very pleased that Gudenkauf had the lowest and best bid because they've done most, if not all, of the fiber work for Marysville's schools," City Administrator Terry Emery said. "We're very familiar with the company and comfortable with them."

Gudenkauf's initial work will include:

* Installing a 144-strand fiber optic cable from the Maple Street Middle School to the intersection of North Maple and West Fifth streets.

* Installing 72-strand fiber optic cables from the intersection of North Maple and West Fifth streets running to the new police department and to the Union County Building at 128 S. Main St.

* Installing a 48-strand fiber optic cable from the new police department to Bunsold Middle School.

City Hall, the new fire station on County Home Road and the Public Service Center will also be furnished with fiber optic capabilities, Emery said.

Commissioner and COG chairman Steve Stolte said the county, city and schools will all benefit from the project.

"The school district already has a pretty extensive fiber network and we're expanding that, beefing up its capacity," Stolte said. "Our county courthouse, Justice Center, the building at 128 S. Main St., the county engineer's building on County Home Road and the Ag Center will all eventually be connected to the network as well."

Stolte said he hoped the COG would have a contract with Gudenkauf signed within a week and expected construction to begin in mid-August and completed sometime in November.

"The ball is in Gudenkauf's lap now," he said. "They have to provide proof of insurance, a performance bond, things like that. And then we'll be able to sign a contract.

"It's important to remember that this is only the first phase of the current project," Stolte said. "We're looking at expanding the network over the next four or five years."

The COG plans to spend at least $100,000 more of the $400,000 state loan by the end of 2012 or early in 2013 in a second phase that will include the purchase of equipment for the fiber optic network.

The COG's ultimate goal is to have a single data center and help desk for all three entities.