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BE approves hiring architect for new shop

By Staff | Aug 11, 2013

It looks like a planned new city of Blue Earth public works shop building might not be constructed until next year.

A year ago the City Council toured the current building and last fall provided funding for a new facility through the city’s capital improvement plan (CIP) bond.

However, at Monday’s Blue Earth City Council meeting, public works supervisor Jamison Holland said the project probably will not happen until the 2014 construction season.

“We want to wait, and do this right,” Holland says.

A committee has been studying all the facets involved in the new building and recently was interviewing architect firms.

“We have bids from three firms,” Holland told the council. “We recommend the bid from CBS Squared of Chippewa Falls, Wis., despite the fact that they are the highest bid.”

Their bid was for $55,000. The other two bids received were for $42,000 and $39,500.

Holland says the reason to go with the higher bid was that CBS Squared has specialized in shop buildings for cities and counties.

“We felt they have the right vision for what we want to do here,” he says. “The staff recommends we go with them.”

The council agreed and voted to go with the firm. However, one councilman, Dan Brod, commented, “that sure is a lot of money.”

The cost of the project is also expected to increase. It had originally been estimated to be between $300,000 and $400,000.

“We want to make the right choice for the building,” Holland says. “Right now we have a pole building structure and we don’t want to do that again. We have looked at a steel building or a pre-stressed structure.”

The recommendation is to go with pre-stressed, Holland told the council, which could boost the cost to $500,000 to $600,000.

However, Holland pointed out, pre-stressed will last 80 years, while steel will last 40 years.

The cost of the shop will be covered by the CIP bond already in place.

The new shop would be built at the same site as the current shop building, on the east side of Blue Earth.

Holland says the plan may involve not having both the public works office and the wash bay area in the new shop building.