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Kershaw chooses firm to build new town hall

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By Chris Sardelli

KERSHAW – Kershaw Town Council chose a construction company for its new town hall project Monday, but the decision was not unanimous.

Out of three possible choices, council voted 4-2 to award the contract to PF & Perry L. Mungo Inc. of Pageland.

Council members Rose Marie Baker, Mark Dorman, Lewis Sims and Oscar Coates voted in favor. Council members Harold Williams and Wade Hunter voted against.

Mayor Tommy Baker, who generally only votes to break a tie, did not vote.

The vote came immediately after a failed motion to award the contract to the lowest bidder, John M. Campbell Co. of Monroe. It failed by a 2-4 vote, with Williams and Hunter voting in favor.

Council and Town Administrator Tony Starnes reviewed bids from three companies to determine the best course of action.

John M. Campbell Co. bid $809,199, PF & Perry L. Mungo Inc. bid $812,691 and MCON Construction of Chester bid $820,888.

Starnes said he spoke to several people who contracted with these companies and heard only positive reviews. Since there was only a 1.5 percent difference in price between the low and high bids, Starnes said any of the bids could be accepted.

Council made the final decision based on the money the contractors allocated in their bids for signs at the new town hall, Mayor Baker said.

Campbell allocated $5,000 for signs, while Mungo budgeted $15,000 for signs in and around the building. Mungo said in its bid it could use the money to install a sign on the outside of the building, something Campbell had not planned for.

The majority on council felt Mungo's bid was the most attractive.

The state has awarded a $100,000 grant for the new town hall, and Mayor Baker said he believes it is appropriate to go with a South Carolina-based firm.

"It's nice to keep the money within the state of South Carolina," Baker said.

Now that a contractor has been chosen, the mayor predicts work on the new town hall could begin as early as November. He foresees an end date of June 2009, barring any complications.

The town has temporarily relocated several offices to a building at 212 Mariam St. until the new hall is constructed, while Town Council has been meeting at the bowling alley off Ash Street.

The old Town Hall building at 113 S. Hampton St. was originally built in the 1930s. It has been deteriorating and has been torn down. The new town hall will be built at the site of the old town hall.

The new 6,000-square-foot town hall will house the town's courtroom and council chambers, as well as the police department, offices for the Kershaw Chamber of Commerce, several business and administration offices and a conference room. The conference room will be used by council during executive sessions and by juries during trials.

The new building will also feature a drive-through window where residents can pay their utility bills. The building will be handicapped-accessible.

"It will be a very functional building," the mayor said. "I think it will be such an asset to downtown."

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416