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Garco awarded $35.8 million Joint Base Lewis-McChord contract

Wed., May 30, 2012

Spokane’s Garco Construction has landed a $35.8 million federal contract after challenging an earlier award for the job given to an Oklahoma competitor.

Garco bid on the project last year to build a large truck and maintenance shop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. Last fall the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the job to The Ross Group, based in Tulsa, Okla.

The Ross Group got the contract even through Garco’s original bid was lower. The federal contract system gives advantages to small companies that are based in “HUBZones,” a geographical category set up by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Because The Ross Group said it was HUBZone-qualified, its bid was rated ahead of Garco’s.

Garco challenged the award, arguing that The Ross Group did not meet the HUBZone requirements. As a result the bid process was reopened. Garco did that after learning and pointing out The Ross Group had sales above $80 million; the HUBZone limit is $33.5 million per year.

Garco Vice President Hollis Barnett said the company last week was notified it won the award. The Spokane construction company already has three current projects at the large military base, he said.

The Lewis-McChord project is the first of more than a dozen similar U.S. Army facility projects the Corps of Engineers will award over the next three years. Together, those maintenance facilities projects are expected to cost about $499 million.

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