Tearing down the old Kane County jail could cost a lot less than initially expected, judging by bids made during a reverse auction this week.
The lowest bid came in at $407,000, said Timothy Harbaugh, the county's director of environmental management, to the county board's administration committee Thursday. That bid was placed by American Demolition Corp. of Elgin.
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Even the high bid of $739,000 was well under the $1 million cost estimate county board members heard at a meeting in November where they voted on whether to seek bids for the demolition.
The auction was conducted online, and took about 90 minutes.
"It's really fun watching the numbers go down," Harbaugh said.
The old jail was abandoned in 2008 when the new adult correctional center opened. Sheriff's deputies have used it for training purposes, and the county stores surplus equipment in its gymnasium.
The committee will consider a formal resolution to accept the bid at its January meeting, as well as a budget amendment. If it approves those, the resolutions would move on to the county board.
County and Geneva officials believe clearing the site at 777 W. Fabyan Parkway in Geneva will make it more attractive for commercial development, along with the closed Settler's Hill Landfill site next to it. The demolition could be paid for out of the landfill enterprise surcharge fund, which is dedicated to expenses concerning Settler's Hill Landfill.
One thing the county would have to do before demolition is clear out the jail gymnasium, county purchasing director Christopher Rossman said. It is full of desks, chairs, filing cabinets and the like from the closure and downsizing of several county offices, as well as some desks left from the old jail and sheriff's office. Other county departments have already picked over the items, and the county has sold 219 items for $37,405. The remaining items are in so-so shape, including wheeled office chairs that don't meet current safety standards, Rossman told the committee. He told the committee he will ask nonprofits, such as Hesed House shelter in Aurora, if it wants any of the remaining items, then see if a scrap metal dealer is interested in purchasing the lot. Committee members Cristina Castro and Deborah Allan suggested he also see if the Habitat for Humanity ReSale store in Elgin is interested.