High bids delay Wainwright hospital

PHOTO/Rob Stapleton/AJOC
Construction of a replacement hospital at Fort Wainwright, expected to be one of the major construction projects in Alaska this year, is on hold after bids came in higher than expected. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District canceled the solicitation for bids Jan. 26 without awarding a contract.

The project to replace the nearly 50-year-old Bassett Army Hospital was to be completed in 2005.

"We’re looking into options to save the construction season but at this point it does seem to be in jeopardy," said Corps spokeswoman Pat Richardson. However, she was unable to list possible options for the project.

The Corps listed a four-year budget of $99.8 million for the project. The contract was to have been a negotiated, best-value procurement, Corps officials said. Congress had appropriated $133 million for construction of the new hospital and demolition of the old one.

The 32-bed, 260,000-square-foot hospital would serve the military, dependents and retirees of Fort Greely, Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base and remote military sites north of the Alaska Range.

Site development began in April.

"The government canceled the solicitation because of high prices in the proposals received Jan. 19," Corps officials said in a statement. "Reducing the scope of the proposed project was considered not in the best interest of the government."

Corps officials told the Journal in late 2000 that design changes had delayed the timeline for construction bidding. The construction contract, which was due to be awarded Dec. 30, was next set to be awarded as early as this month.

Bids received by the Corps were high, although Richardson did not disclose the number of bids received nor a dollar value range of the different bids.

"The bids were high enough that we canceled the solicitation," she said. "The customer (the U.S. Army) still wants the project."

The health care facility would provide services including internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and family practice. The design included other departments like emergency services, radiology, food service, physical therapy, pharmacy, labor and delivery, dental treatment and staff administration.

02/10/2001 - 8:00pm