SEED work contracts win approval

Ground will be moving soon — quite literally — at the site of a planned green energy business complex as the Port of Bremerton’s Board of Commissioners approved the project’s first work contract this week.

“The staff has been working diligently with our SEED (Sustainable Energy Economic Development) Project Consultant and team of design/engineers to prepare bids for the first phase,” said port Chief Operating Officer Tim Thomson as he addressed the board Tuesday.

Thomson was requesting that the commissioners approve paying Gorst firm Sound Excavation nearly $270,000 for site grading and soil moving that will lay the groundwork for both an access road and more stable foundations for the first two buildings of Pod 1.

“This is earthwork only, no paving,” Thomson continued, explaining that the first step will be to “roughly grade in” the access road to Pod 1, then move soil from that site to the construction site to “add further building stabilization over the waste.”

Thomson said he expected to gain official approval from the state soon to use part of the $1.1 million Capital Budget grant allocated for the first phase of work, which he added should cost barely half as much as the $500,000 price tag the port originally imagined.

This first phase also includes providing for a utility trench, and Thomson described the second phase as completion of both the road and utilities.

As envisioned by the port and project director Tim Botkin, Pod 1 should cost $32-million and take up 86,000 square-feet of the entire SEED complex, which is imagined as a 75-acre clean-technology cluster in the South Kitsap Industrial Area(SKIA).

With a unanimous vote, commissioners Bill Mahan and Mary Ann Huntington approved awarding the contract. Commissioner Cheryl Kincer was absent.

If work on the first phase begins this year, it will fulfill the port’s goal of initiating such construction “with completed design, permits, SEPA compliance and contract award — no later than Dec. 31, 2007.”

At a meeting this spring, Botkin told the board that “if we are not under construction by December, I will need to question whether I should remain with this project.” At the next board meeting, Botkin’s contract was extended through the end of this year.

Also related to SEED, the commissioners Tuesday approved hiring Mithun, Inc., as the “most qualified architectural and engineering firm to design the Kitsap SEED Project.”

When recommending approval of the $1-million contract, Thomson said that most of that money will be provided for by $427,500 from the federal government and another $800,000 from the state, which are both tagged as money for design work.

“The staff will do everything we can to recover most of the cost of the work, but the most important (task) is to get the work done to the satisfaction of all the parties, and with the least cost to the port,” he said.

Both commissioners approved that contract as well.

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