Local News

BAM gets old hospital demolition job

The former downtown hospital building, now called Bawden Street Apartments, will be demolished by BAM Construction this winter.

BAM Construction of Ketchikan officially has been hired to take down the dilapidated former hospital building on Bawden Street. The Ketchikan City Council on Thursday rejected two appeals to the contract award, and affirmed an earlier decision to hire BAM for $685,000.

The motion passed 5-2 with Council Members Matt Olsen and KJ Harris voting no. Olsen said he doesn’t have a problem with BAM; he just preferred following the process that the Council had set up earlier.

“With the award to BAM, we’re doing right what we’ve done (before), and we’re opening ourselves up to all these complaints,” he said. “I understand all the rationales for it, but I’m going to vote against this because we said that we were going to follow a process and here we are again, contradicting ourselves.”

City managers earlier had recommended another contractor, which scored higher by a screening committee, but the Council decided Nov. 1st that it preferred BAM, the lowest bidder. The issue had to come back to the Council Thursday to give time for a second notice to all the bidders.

One of the bidders complained that BAM failed to disclose an Environmental Protection Agency violation related to asbestos removal during the 2006 demolition work at The Landing.

BAM co-owner Brad Finney answered that complaint Thursday. He said his company properly abated all the insulation that had been identified by an asbestos consultant.

But “they found some, in the crawl space underneath the building, that the consultant had not found, there was some small pieces of asbestos,” he said. “So, subsequently, yeah, we all kind of got busted on the deal.”

Finney said The Landing was the company fined by the EPA, so he doesn’t feel that BAM failed to disclose anything.

Finney notes that for the Bawden Street hospital demolition project, the entire building already has been declared asbestos-contaminated. That means all the material will be treated as hazardous. He said his company will work closely with a subcontractor that has expertise in asbestos removal.

Also on Thursday, the Council unanimously approved the newest version of the prioritized community project funding request list. That list, which eventually will be submitted to the Legislature, will come before the Borough Assembly on Monday.

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