The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities will start construction on a new children’s respite home in Rossford.

The board had gone out to bid for the project in May but learned at its June meeting that the one bid received came in 17.6% more than estimates, at $911,000.

This was after the board had increased the construction budget for the home from $600,000 to $775,000.

The board in October again increased the budget, this time to $850,000, and decided to rebid the project with several alternatives, including a two-car garage and fencing.

The board tried to find creative ways to make adjustments to the estimates, said Superintendent Brent Baer at the December board meeting.

“The project bid market has been highly volatile … but the needs of the children haven’t changed,” he said.

At the December meeting, the board approved accepting a bid of $884,690 from the Dotson Company, Whitehouse.

That bid is approximately 4% over the published project estimate of $850,000.

Ohio Revised Code allows for awarding contracts that are within 10% of published estimates, according to Andy Knopp with Thomas Porter Architects, which will design the new home.

“We feel strongly that we are within the legal boundaries to moved forward,” Knopp said.

There originally were four bidders but two dropped out, said Scott McKeown, health and safety coordinator.

Board member John Janas asked if the alternate garage was connected.

A lot of homes in that neighborhood have free-standing garages, McKeown said.

There will be a covered roof structure so if a future garage is added, it will be easy to install a canopy, Knopp added.

The board’s 2022-24 capital plan includes the home, which will be fully accessible. Along with four bedrooms, it will have two bathrooms plus a half bath for staff use. There will be two wings, which will allow two bedrooms to share a bathroom. Staff will be able to monitor the home from a central kitchen and living room.

The home will serve up to four children ages 3-17 at one time.

As of May, 49% of families with children ages 3-17 live in the northern part of Wood County, and a lot of families have been asking for respite services in their area.

McKeown has said he hopes to have the home open by January 2023. It will be on the same corner lot of a previous group home that was destroyed by fire.

McKeon said insurance paid on the loss of the previous home was $179,000.

To receive that money, they have to rebuild on that site, Baer said.

“It’ll be good to get that going and get some much-needed space,” said board President Ed Metzger.

The board also approved a pay plan that will give employees a 4% salary increase in 2020.

“I am amazed and thankful every day at how hard out employees work,” Baer said.

The increases are, in part, in answer to the highly competitive job market and the fact that employees have had to expand their duties, he said.

The board also will adjust and increase the range of lower pay grades and update substitute rates.

Sallie Gardner was recognized for her 36 years of service to the county board after beginning her career in 1985. She retired Dec. 31.

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