Razing Gilbert Manor will cost less than expected, official says

A tough economy is providing a silver lining for Medical College of Georgia and possibly the city of Augusta.

The contract for razing the former Gilbert Manor public housing area next to MCG attracted 27 bids, far more than expected, and came in much cheaper than anticipated, said Bill Bowes, senior vice president for finance and administration at MCG.

“I was rather surprised,” he said, which he attributes to tougher economic times making more contractors interested. Instead of the $3.1 million estimate, Thompson Building Wrecking Co. came in with the low bid of $640,000, Mr. Bowes said this morning.

“I was very pleased that it was low,” he said.

The city of Augusta gave MCG $10 million to purchase and prepare the Gilbert Manor site, which will become the home of a new building for the School of Dentistry, a new medical commons building that will include shared classrooms and offices for the School of Medicine and eventually a new research building.

The contract for the work should be finalized soon and demolition will probably begin in a few weeks, with the work concluded well ahead of ground-breaking for the new dental school building later this year, Mr. Bowes said.

The school has been talking to city leaders about whether to return a portion of the money or to use it for unfunded parts of the expansion, such as extending Central Avenue into the site to access the new buildings, Mr. Bowes said.

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