DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Nine bids were received and opened Wednesday for the $5 million renovation and expansion of the Piscataquis County Superior Courthouse to consolidate both the district and superior courts under one roof.

Of the nine bids, Bowman Constructors of Newport submitted the lowest bid of $3,275,750.

“The bids were good, from the low bid to the high bid. The spread was not huge, which is always a healthy sign that everything was competitive,” Jeff Henthorn, state director of court facilities, said Thursday.

Twelve contractors initially expressed interest in the project, 11 attended the mandatory walk-through, and of those, nine chose to submit bids, Henthorn said. “That’s a very healthy response,” he said.

The eight other bids submitted were as follows: A&L Construction Inc. of Presque Isle, $3,469,440; Blane Casey Building Contractor Inc. of China, $3,305,061; E.W. Littlefield Inc. and Sons of Hartland, $3,617,000; Ganneston Construction Corp. of Augusta, $3,375,000; Langford & Low Inc. of Portland, $3,313,693; Nickerson & O’Day Inc. of Bangor, $3,397,620; The Penobscot Co. Inc. of Rockport, $3,433,385; and Landry-French Construction Co. of Scarborough, $3,290,000.

As requested, the bidders also included prices for three separate alternates for consideration by Piscataquis County officials. A new air conditioning and heating system for the Probate Court is under consideration, and those bids ranged from $6,680 to $7,600. A second alternate, which ranged in cost from $3,980 to $5,000, was to install a trench between the court and the Sheriff’s Department for technology and telephone systems. The third alternate, with bids ranging from $22,795 to $28,000, is for a new boiler for the current District Court.

Henthorn said it appears now that construction can begin before the anticipated ground-breaking date of May 2. “I think we certainly will meet that, possibly sooner,” he said.

Henthorn also said he believed the project can be done within the $5 million allotted by the Legislature. In addition to the construction costs, there are separate contracts for architect fees, asbestos removal, and security, sound and technology systems, he said.

Henthorn said the bids will be reviewed to ensure that all the requirements were met. Once he receives the go-ahead from judicial officials to award a contract, the Bureau of General Services will prepare a professional services agreement for the contractor and the state to sign.