MDOT headquarters on track for June opening

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The long-awaited opening of the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s District 1 headquarters is on track for June.
“The exterior work is done, but there’s still work left to do on the inside,” said MDOT project engineer Matt Dunn.
The $5.1 million, 34,000-square-foot facility was scheduled to be finished last August, but the general contractor working on the project filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2012.
That set the project back several months, and work had to be re-bid.
The bonding company and MDOT received five bids, with Jesco making the winning offer.
Dunn said the bonding company was responsible for the work of the previous contractor, and that “MDOT and taxpayers are not having to pay any more” for the completion of the building.
MDOT’s original estimate for the building was $7.2 million.
The project was let in October 2010, but construction was delayed until March 2011.
DC&M, a Bay St. Louis-based company, was the low bidder with $5.1 million. But the company stopped work on the project in January 2012. Some of the exterior framing had been done, but the steel beams and the interior were exposed to the elements for several months.
Dunn said MDOT and Jesco officials scoured the facility from top to bottom to determine what damage might have been done before resuming work.
“It was nothing major, just some minor repairs,” Dunn said.
A new building was needed to replace the old one, which suffered from structural, electrical and mold problems. The Tupelo office is the last of six statewide MDOT offices to be replaced. The new building also was needed to accommodate a growing MDOT.
The agency is expected to grow 20 percent in the next few years, and the facility will meet those needs. The building also includes a 200-seat auditorium to allow MDOT to host meetings there, rather than renting space elsewhere.
The old building will be razed and replaced by a parking lot.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com