New bids look good for future of historic Lee’s Summit post office

rpulley@lsjournal.comMay 28, 2014 

A new round of bids for restoring a historic Lee’s Summit post office gives hope that the project will go forward without busting its budget.

The city rejected the first bids as too high.

The new low bid is from The Wilson Group Inc. for $427,868.

The previous low bid was about $627,000, while the city had planned on about $450,000 for construction. The entire project budget is $660,000.

The new bids are expected to go to the Lee’s Summit City Council in June for approval.

When the city asked for its second round of bids, it did scale back some of the planned finishes. It also did some demolition itself so the extent of work needed could easily seen by bidders.

The city’s intention is to restore the 1939 downtown post office built by the WPA and lease the building to the Lee’s Summit Historical Society which will use it for a museum.

A replica of the portico of the house of founder William B. Howard and some exhibition cases are no longer in the city’s construction budget, said Deputy City Manager Brian Scott.

Other features are still included, such as a grid of moveable walls and spotlights for flexible exhibits will be in the project, as will a one-room exhibit portraying the former Vogue theater, Scott said.

Other items not in the construction contract, such as technology for the theater – a flat-screen TV to show a short film about the history of Lee’s Summit and a computer and tablets for docents and visitors to use – that will provide more information about exhibits are in the budget.

The city will buy those items on its co-op contracts and employees will do the set up.

The Lee’s Summit Historical Society plans to get help with technology students from Lee’s Summit R-7 School District to create film and other interactive programs.

The city plans to ask a company that rebuilds generators to remove one from the building that needs to be discarded, hoping it will take it as salvage.

“We’re trying to find things we can do for ourselves,” Scott said.

For some of the cut items, the city is taking steps to return them to the project with work done by volunteers.

One option is including a large-scale photo of the Howard house as an alternative to the portico. Another idea being pursued by the historical society is asking the Lee’s Summit Woodworking Guild and the Lee’s Summit Fire Fighters Association (which helped with displays in the current museum) to perhaps build the portico as planned and build display cases.

“We’re very encouraged, we were able to put some stuff back in,” said Kathy Smith, president of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society.

 

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