Help With State Bidding Process Available, Including Feb. 23 Workshop in Austin
AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has more than 68 repair and improvement projects, with a total construction value at over $70 million, which must be bid and encumbered into construction contracts by this August, thanks to funding provided during the 84th legislative session in 2015. For builders who like the idea of working in state parks, it can offer a nice change of pace compared to big city projects. Anyone is encouraged to bid, but the agency makes special efforts to appeal to minority and woman-owned businesses, following state purchasing rules.
“For the next eight months, we will be bidding dozens of projects in locations across the state, from the far reaches of the northern Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley, and from El Paso to deep East Texas,” said Jessica Davisson, TPWD Infrastructure Division director.
“Thanks to the Texas Legislature dedicating dollars for parks in the last session, we have a lot of opportunity this year,” Davisson explained. “We know there are other state and municipal agencies also getting ready to bid projects, so we’re making an extra effort to get the word out and let people know there are some distinct advantages to working with us.”
Department projects are generally of the size and scope appropriate for small and mid-sized general contracting companies, with an average project value of more than $785,000. Work to be bid in coming weeks includes capital projects for the State Parks Division, Coastal Fisheries Division, Inland Fisheries Division, Wildlife Division, as well as projects at the agency’s Austin Headquarters.
For the right contractor, it can be a great line of work. Heather and Jamison McGlasson own G2 Contractors, LLC, a Texas corporation.
“Heather and I used to work at a big construction company, but now we can chase work based on what we’re personally passionate about,” said Jamison. “We love the outdoors, and trying to improve the state parks and working with those kinds of agencies who are conservation-focused, make the projects worthwhile. Because being outside is our favorite place to be, we hire subcontractors who share that interest. We try to think of the park, of the maintenance guys and the superintendent who are going to have to maintain the improvements after we’re finished, because we want to visit those places with our family and be proud of our work.”
The McGlassons have also done projects in other states with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. In Texas, their handiwork has left a positive mark at state parks like Palo Duro Canyon and the San Jacinto Battleground.
Most of the projects TPWD will bid this spring involve construction at Texas State Parks and state natural areas. Some examples with estimated costs include:
- More than $10 million worth of work to improve water, wastewater, electrical, and HVAC systems at state parks such as Hill Country State Natural Area, Falcon Lake, and Lake Somerville
- More than $11 million for restroom repairs and restroom replacements at parks such as Mustang Island State Park, Inks Lake State Park, and Caddo Lake State Park. (Restroom improvements remain one of the top requests from state park visitors.)
- More than $11 million for repairs for historic structures at parks such as Bastrop State Park, Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park, and Fort Leaton State Historic Site.
- More than $2.5 million to replace staff residences at parks such as Tyler State Park, San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, and Lake Tawakoni State Park. (On-site residences are important for quick emergency response and customer safety.)
- More than $1.4 million to repair boat ramps at parks such as Inks Lake State Park, Choke Canyon State Park, and Ft. Parker State Park.
- More than $3.5 million for a Design-Build contract to design and construct a visitor’s center at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso.
But it’s not all state parks. Projects for the TPWD Wildlife Division total more than $5.5 million for fence replacement, conservation education facility building replacements, bunkhouse repairs and replacements, and repairs to other facilities at state wildlife management areas such as Kerr WMA north of San Antonio, Justin Hurst southwest of Houston, and Chaparral WMA south of San Antonio.
Projects for the Inland and Coastal Fisheries Divisions total more than $8.5 million for water quality projects, new boat storage and other support structures.
For any contract with an expected value of $100,000 or more, before any state agency can seek bids for the contract, they must determine whether there will be subcontracting opportunities. If the state agency determines that is likely, each bid for the contract must include a historically underutilized business (HUB) subcontracting plan.
Unfortunately, some contractors are getting disqualified right at the start because they’re not properly filling out forms to submit these plans. To help contractors, the TPWD HUB program is offering a workshop from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, at TPWD headquarters in Austin. This workshop will cover the step by step process of completing and submitting the required HUB subcontracting plan with an opportunity to meet the HUB staff that review and approve the plans. Similar workshops in other locations may follow, and assistance is also available by phone and email. For questions about the HUB process, contractors may email email@example.com or call (512) 389-4784.
The best way for contractors to keep informed about upcoming TPWD bidding opportunities is to go to the construction bid opportunities page of the TPWD website, where anyone can sign up to get on the email list for future bid opportunities, plus see all current bid opportunities.