The Ashland construction company in line to get a contract to build three new Medford fire stations also will build its new police headquarters.

The Ashland construction company in line to get a contract to build three new Medford fire stations also will build its new police headquarters.

The Medford City Council Thursday awarded Adroit Construction of Ashland an $18.8 million contract to build a new downtown police station and secure parking structure at 10th and Ivy streets.

Adroit was originally No. 2 in the competitive bid process, but when J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, Mo., later tried to change some of its bid figures, the city went to its second option, Adroit.

Tom Walker, a project manager for Adroit Construction, said his firm was happy to get the project, even on the rebound.

"The process is set up so the award goes to the best-qualified contractor," Walker said. "We weren't initially scored the highest, but it ended up coming around back to us. You probably learn more from your losses than you do the wins. After these proposals, whether we win or lose, we go through and evaluate how we did and how the competition did and what we did well and what we can do better."

Todd Construction of Tualatin was No. 3 on the list.

The council made its decision on the builder and architect with little discussion, other than Councilman John Michaels' muted desire to avoid replication of the county health building rising up across Ivy Street from City Hall.

"I want to make clear that we do not want the example we have across the street," Michaels said. "I'm trying to be really kind here; we would like to see something not so boxy. That, to me, is not what the city should be putting money out for."

While Adroit will have input on material selection and other costs, the look belongs to the architect. The contractor has regularly worked with ORW, including Lithia Motors's headquarters building on The Commons.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Sjothun, who presented the project to the council, said J.E. Dunn requested modifications to its proposal and additional insurance requirements for subcontractors. The city staff ultimately determined the changes weren't to the city's benefit. Sjothun noted J.E. Dunn's lone solution to eliminating additional insurance coverage was to boost its construction management fee to 4.65 percent from 2.65 percent, causing the city to walk away.

"It would have added costs to our project," Sjothun said. "We exercised our right (under city code) to end negotiations. J.E. Dunn did not protest the decision."

He said Adroit's construction management fee was 2.95 percent. He noted nearly $1.5 million of the contract, about 8.5 percent of the project, was for contingencies.

"Industry standards fluctuate anywhere between 5 and 10 percent and the city has been historically closer to 10 percent," Sjothun said. "We're right in the ballpark."

Council member Daniel Bunn said he was not in favor of giving exclusively local preference for contracts, but was pleased with the outcome.

The council also awarded a $742,270 contract to Straus & Seibert Architects of Medford for design and engineering of three new fire stations.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at Edge.