Ensnared in controversy, Broward’s new courthouse is still far off

The new courthouse approved for Broward County two years ago is a long way from getting off the ground, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and two contractors are duking it out for the coveted $178.8 million job.

James A. Cummings Inc. was awarded the initial contract, but county officials found the Spillis Candela & Partners design to grossly underestimate the cost of the project because air conditioning costs were not considered.

Officials are considering legal action against Spillis — they say the cost overrun will reach $8 million and has already caused delays — and want to start the bidding process over. Further, Moss Associates and Hunt Construction Group, whose joint proposal was the runner-up, want another shot at the job.

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But Cummings wants to move forward, saying the additional costs would only amount to about $3 million, and redoing the bidding would cause further delay and expenses. Starting construction would provide a needed boost to the local economy, Cummings said.

While the county works towards a conclusion, the price of steel and concrete continues to rise, and the current courthouse’s users complain conditions are worsening and the need for a new structure is growing. [Sun-Sentinel]