May 20, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterContractors from Fremont County and throughout the United States are focusing on details about construction of the Wind River Job Corps Center, set to open near Riverton Regional Airport in 2015.
Once it is completed, the center should employ about 100 people who will help offer academic assistance and career and technical training to roughly 550 students ages 16 to 24.
"This is an exciting, exciting event for the city," Mayor Ron Warpness said. "I just can't tell you how excited we are that the Department of Labor now is coming to our community and sharing with us their plans and looking forward to the future.
"We've all invested a tremendous amount of emotional energy in this project."
Miriam Holst, a contract specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor, said she was happy to be in Wyoming as well this month/
"This place is absolutely beautiful," she told her audience at a public information session. "It's stunning."
Holst went over some requirements for contractors interested in bidding for the project. She said the process at the federal level can be a little more complicated than it often is locally.
"It's not just as simple as, 'I have the lowest bid therefore give me the contract,'" Holst said. "There's a bit more to it."
First, she said, any company applying for the contract must be certified as a Historically Unde-rutilized Business Zones firm. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the HUBZone program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
Holst said contractors also must meet the No-Notice Interoperability Exercise code.
"There are so many different variables you really have to pay attention to," she said.
Her department will use the federal System for Award Management to ensure the information contractors report about their companies is accurate.
Holst said the potential contract will be a "firm, fixed-price" document.
"There will be no economic price adjustment for labor or for materials," Holst said. "It is as it stands."
She acknowledged that details often change throughout the course of a construction project, but Holst said contractors are "forbidden" to add in the cost of contingencies.
"This is not a contingency contract," she said, explaining that federal acquisition contracts take into account such risks beforehand.
Bids must be accompanied by a bid guarantee, she continued. According to USLegal.com, a bid guarantee ensures that the bidder will not withdraw a bid within the period specified for acceptance. The guarantee usually includes a firm commitment like a bid bond or certified check. Holst said for this project the "commitment" must amount to either 20 percent of the bid or $3 million --whichever is less. The guarantee can be placed on Standard Form 24, which is available on the U.S. General Services Administration website at gsa.gov.
After a bidder has been chosen, Holst said federal contracting officers will make sure the company is able to do the work.
"There are seven factors we closely monitor," Holst said. "We look into how you've performed on other jobs. ... We contact maybe some of your references. We also take a look at (whether) you have a good financial fit."
To be considered responsible, she said a contractor must be trustworthy, financially secure and have the experience and capacity to get the job done.
"Do you have late payments to subcontractors, to suppliers, things of that nature," Holst said. "Do you have the manpower and resources to continue on a new project. ... All of these come into play --one doesn't outweigh the other."
She invited contractors to e-mail questions to her department, with answers expected to be posted online on or around May 22. Bids for construction are due June 13, with contracts expected to be awarded by June 30.
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