CUMBERLAND — With nearly two-thirds of the funding in place, the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission is making the next move forward on its new building.

Dan Lewellen, deputy director, said the commission received five bids for the architectural and engineering work for the structure. The proposals are the next step that eventually will lead to the construction of a nearly 19,500-square-foot building on Virginia Avenue.

The commission’s new building, which was announced in 2005, is expected to cost between $2.5 million and $3 million.

Interested firms are from Somerset, Pa., Baltimore, Hagerstown and Cumberland.

Lewellen said “there’s a pretty good range” in the bids but that most fall within the budget.

“We’re thrilled with it,” he said of the response. “We’re thrilled at the interest in it.”

Lewellen believes much of the interest stems from the commission’s desire to build a “green,” or environmentally friendly, building — the first such new construction in the county.

Courtney Thomas, executive director, previously said the idea for the green building began in the initial design process and the desire of the board to be as environmentally friendly as financially possible.

One such way is to build a green roof that will cover about 3,000 square feet and could last 50 years, three times longer than the average life of a regular roof.

The roof also is the top priority for the city’s Community Legacy application at $123,000.

As for the architect and engineering firm, Lewellen said a proposal selection committee has been formed and consists of members from the HRDC board and employees as well as members of the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association, city and county staff.

The group has already met once and developed a scoring system.

Categories include the firms’ performance on similar projects, the ability to meet scheduled deadlines, cost, completeness of proposal, qualifications of those who are going to work on the project and miscellaneous.

“We’ll have a series of meetings in the next couple of weeks and slowly whittle our list down until we come up with probably the top two,” Lewellen said, adding the selection should be made by the second week in December.

Those firms then will be asked to make presentations.

Once the firm is in place, Lewellen said additional grants will open up, including funding from a Maryland Department of Aging capital improvements grant. The firm will be responsible for developing the building proposals.

At 2 1/2 stories, the building will be constructed on a city parking lot next to the post office.

The HRDC will relocate from its 19 Frederick St. center and also bring other administrative offices into the fold. The new building will include the senior center, a community center room, small fitness center, and conference and training rooms.

Contact Maria Smith at

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