MARINETTE — SMA Construction of Green Bay will be the contractor for the alteration and renovation of the former Marinette County Law Enforcement Center on Ella Court Street if the County Board of Supervisors follows the advice of its Infrastructure Committee.

The committee on Friday voted 5-1, with Supervisor Shirley Kaufman dissenting, to recommend the county board, which meets Tuesday, accept the bid of SMA Construction to do the project for a cost of $4,274,000. County Administrator John Lefebvre has said in the past he is hopeful the project on the building, which has been nearly empty for several years, can be completed by next fall.

SMA submitted the low bid for the project, with the inclusion of a green roof. The other bids were Zeise Construction, $4,336,826; Moyle Construction, $4,799,000; IEI General Contractors, $4,385,000; Immel Construction, $4,520,087; and Miron Construction, $4,455,200.

Facilities and Parks Director Marty Keyport said each contractor was asked to submit a deduction in case the plan to install a green roof on the building was withdrawn. The deduction submitted by SMA Construction was $352,000.

“I would vote ‘no’ if the green roof is included,” said Kaufman. “I am opposed to it. I don’t like the public going up there because of liability, and the extra cost to pay for it. I know it sounds good and maybe I’m old fashioned, but it’s a courthouse and not an entertainment-type deal.”

“I want to compliment Marty and whoever else worked on this,” said Supervisor Al Sauld. “I’ve been on this board for 14 years and I have 20 years of bidding and designing experience and this is the closest I’ve seen bids come in on a project. These bids are really consistent. The architect (Venture Architects) did a good job and you guys spent a lot of time on this.”

Lefebvre said the architect originally came out with a cost estimate of $6.25 million and noted that among the things not included in the bid include furnishings.

“That’s what we put into our budget, and this is about $2 million less than that,” he said. “We don’t have a rough estimate of what the furnishings are going to cost, but we’re not going to come anywhere near $6.25 million.”

Most of the discussion before the committee voted to recommend the acceptance of the SMA Construction bid was about the green roof.

Lefebvre explained the cost of the green roof would include a patio, the extension of the elevator, and a glass enclosure that would be heated, ventilated and air conditioned and serve as a place for staff to take breaks or eat lunch. He said there would be two other places elsewhere in the building that could serve as breakrooms.

“Obviously it (the green roof) would be an attraction for us to recruit employees,” he said. “Above and beyond that, green roofs have been shown to extend the life of your roof because you’re shielding the roof from ultraviolet light. A roof that might only last 20 years could last 30 to 35 years.”

Lefebvre also stressed that the green roof would help prevent flooding from the water that comes off large roofs when there is heavy rainfall.

“As soon as you get one or two inches of rain, it gets into the storm sewer system and floods the system and everything backs up onto the streets,” he explained. “When you have a green roof with a media of soil, it takes time for that soil to drain properly and make its way into the system. It also cools the water that gets into the storm system.”

Supervisor Mark Anderson, county board chairperson who is not a member of the Infrastructure Committee, asked if the green roof would be open for use by the public.

“I’m not going to make that decision right now because I think we need to get it built and see how it is going to be used,” Lefebvre said. “It should start with employees and if employees aren’t fully using it, then I think we should go to the community. My goal is to open it up to the public during courthouse hours.”

He said the green roof could also be opened to the public on weekends with security controls to monitor people who go up to it through the elevator or a staircase.

“For me if it isn’t open to the public, I’m not in favor of it,” Anderson said. “Open it to the public pending a review, then John can always come back and say somebody’s trashing the place. Then lock it down.”

Keyport said he’s met with two or three furniture vendors who are preparing proposals.

Lefebvre stressed that other costs not included in the SMA Construction bid will include fixtures, surveillance cameras, expenses for moving offices in the current courthouse and annex that aren’t going to be relocated to the former LEC, and developing a corridor between the current courthouse and the former LEC.

“The exterior renovation of that building is included,” Keyport said. “We renovated the exterior of the annex last summer. The exterior of the courthouse is also on the list for this year.”