Purcell Construction wins design-build competition for $21 Brockport college project

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college of brockport dorm
Rendering of the under-construction $21 million College of Brockport dorm building

Purcell Construction Corp. of Watertown has won a $21 million contract to build a new residence hall for The College at Brockport. Officials believe that the construction through the design-build model rather than the traditional design-bid-build system will save upwards of $8 million in construction costs.

Construction for the 256-bed northern New York project will start in May and be completed by the summer of 2018. Overall costs will be $23.8 million, with $1.8 million for administrative-related costs, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.

In the design-build model, “we are giving the bidder direction on the budget and the basic concept of what the college wants to build,” said Rob Ryan, the Dormitory Authority‘s director of construction and operations for Western New York.

Ryan said for the past 15 years the Dormitory Authority has used what is called a “Design, Bid, Build” process of putting out the desired design, and then seeking proposals to build that design — without a price tag. The lowest bid is then selected.

This process takes longer and has proved more expensive than what is expected from “Design Build.”

Under the “Design Build” model used for Brockport’s new dorm, the construction cost — $21 million — was made public before proposals were accepted.

State University of New York dorms typically run $120,000 to $130,000 per bed, according to Ryan. In the new Brockport dorm, the cost is estimated to be about $90,000 a bed.

By setting a construction ceiling at the outset, the companies submitting proposals are encouraged to find cheaper ways to build and avoid unnecessary amenities.

Purcell’s was selected from three proposals, out of a short list of 16 companies, Ryan said.

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