Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Neeser Construction, Inc. picked for Prison

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Monday, October 27, 2008

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough has completed an evaluation of the design-build proposals and has selected Neeser Construction, Inc. as the firm to design and build the new Goose Creek Correctional Center, the largest vertical construction project in recent state history.

Neeser is the only wholly-owned Alaska contractor pursuing the prison project. The recommendation of Neeser goes before the Borough Assembly in December for final approval.

"We began this project six year ago," said Borough Manager John Duffy.  "It's great to see it becoming a reality. It will create jobs and business opportunities."

The project is expected to generate 600 to 700 construction jobs and 350 prison jobs.

The 1,536-bed facility will be located at the corner of Alsop Road and Point MacKenzie Road, some nine miles from the Port MacKenzie dock. The cost to design and build the prison is expected to be $220 million.

"Selecting a design-build team is a major milestone," said Ted Kinney, Expansion Planning Facilities Manager with the Alaska Dept. of Corrections.

The selection was made based on a technical review, the request for proposal evaluation, and cost.

"We had two proposals, both firms presented very strong proposals," said Russ Krafft, Borough Purchasing Officer, "but in the end the decision was made that Neeser presented a proposal that would most likely result in a successful project. Neeser presented a very detailed and advanced design."

Neeser Construction, Inc. has done design-build work for 39 years in Alaska. The company recently won a national design-build award for the car rental garage project in Anchorage.

"I think we put together one of the strongest teams in the nation to do this project," said Gerald Neeser, President and Owner of Neeser Construction. "I think the whole team, from Neeser to the Borough to State Corrections, has done a commendable job."

"This is our biggest project as far as volume of dollars, but not for square footage," Neeser said.

KPB, HOK, and Durrant architects have teamed up with Neeser on this project. The subcontractors from Anchorage include: Dowl Engineers, Superior Plumbing & Heating, Alcan Electrical, and Coffman Engineers, Inc.

Among the many projects: Neeser has built the Anchorage Jail at $48 million, the Alaska Psychiatric Institute at $37 million as well as the new Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center with construction costs at $101 million. HOK Architect has worked on the San Quentin Condemned Inmate Complex at $156 million. Other Neeser projects include: the VA hospital in Anchorage, the $42 million Ruby Investments office building in Anchorage, and the $57 million South Anchorage High School.

In the past four months, more than 80 hours of face to face meetings along with more than 100 requests for clarification or deviations were submitted and reviewed. The result of these meetings along with hundreds of man-hours on the part of each team resulted in two design-build proposals being submitted. Design-Build is a project delivery method when a single source has accountability for both design and construction.

Final Design Build Proposals were received from Neeser Construction and the Joint Venture of Cornerstone/JE Dunn. One team, Hunt/Lydig/Kiewitt Pacific Co., withdrew.

Evaluations were conducted by a team of seven: three employees from the Alaska Department of Corrections, two employees from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, a retired MSB and Anchorage Public Works Director, and a representative of the Design-Build Institute of America.
The consultant, Alaska Planning & Architecture also helped review the technical criteria. 

The Borough and the State are working with bond professionals to evaluate the current financial situation in preparation to sell the bonds. Market conditions have improved over the past week.  
The project remains on schedule with anticipated construction beginning in spring of 2009. Upon the closing of bonds, an award will be brought forward to the MAT-SU Borough Assembly for approval.

The prison is a joint project between the Borough and the State of Alaska. The prison will be financed by the sale of lease revenue bonds. The Department of Corrections will lease the prison from the MAT-SU Borough, operate it, and eventually own it when the lease-revenue bonds are repaid over 25 years. Borough taxpayers are not paying for the project.

The sketch is a conceptual design of the prison.

For more information call Purchasing Officer Russ Krafft at (907) 745-9601.