Jul 29, 2014

Council Awards $11.1 Million Town Hall Contract

Members of Moorestown council went with Sambe Construction—despite the contractor's involvement in a messy project elsewhere in SJ. Construction is slated to begin soon.

Council Awards $11.1 Million Town Hall Contract

After five years of planning, Moorestown is just a few weeks away from breaking ground on a brand new town hall and library.

Township council unanimously awarded a contract to Pennsauken-based Sambe Construction for $11.1 million for construction of the complex, which was $1.6 million cheaper than the projected cost.

“I feel terrific about it. It’s been a long haul,” said Mayor John Button, who acknowledged that he was pleased he could cross the project off his “to do” list after vowing to get it done when he took office four years ago.

“It’s going to be a wonderful thing for our town,” he added.

Sambe was one of 28 contractors that bid on the project last week, according to Rob Notley, project executive with Greyhawk, which is overseeing the project.

A bid of $7.4 million was submitted by Vineland-based Ogren Construction, but was withdrawn by the contractor. Sambe’s was the next lowest bid.

Democratic council candidate Brian Sattinger questioned whether the township and its team of professionals had enough time to properly vet Sambe’s bid, especially given the problems the construction firm has had with the Egg Harbor Township High School expansion.

According to a story in the Press of Atlantic City, the Egg Harbor project is way overbudget and past the deadline for completion. Sam Girlya, Sambe’s CEO, referred to it as the “project from hell.”

However, Greyhawk project executive Rob Notley explained that Moorestown’s municipal complex is a far less complicated project than the Egg Harbor Township High School expansion—not least of all because of the New Jersey School Development Authority’s (SDA) involvement with the latter project.

“Admittedly, the project did have its difficulties,” said Notley. “Many projects the NJ SDA has done have had difficulties. The SDA is a large, complicated bureaucratic organization, with many checks and balances.”

Notley said he’s worked with Sambe on two other major projects—including additions to the Moorestown High School (MHS) back in 2005/2006—and has been very pleased with the firm’s performance. He said the MHS project was one of the more complicated school projects he’s been involved with over the last 10 years and Sambe met every milestone and kept change orders below 2 percent—the state average for school projects is 5 to 10 percent.

“Does every project with every contractor go well? No … Our relationship with Sambe, even coming out of the Egg Harbor Township project, is still a good relationship,” Notley said. “One of the first calls I made to elicit bid responses was to Sambe. I knew the project was in their wheelhouse … I do not have personal concerns—Greyhawk corporately does not have concerns—working with Sambe again.”

Notley told council he anticipates construction should be ready to begin within the next 30 to 45 days.

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