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Bulking it up!

By Staff | Dec 8, 2013

People’s bodies are not the only things getting buffed out at the Faribault County Fitness Center in Blue Earth.

The fitness center itself is receiving an extreme makeover.

Construction started this past week on a half million dollar project that will include a new addition to the center and a remodeling of the current building. The facility is owned and operated by the city of Blue Earth.

The addition will contain a large new exercise and weightlifting equipment area, locker rooms, offices and entrance.

The current locker rooms and office area will become an aerobic exercise and instruction classroom. No definite plans have been made for the current weightlifting/exercise equipment room, which is located on the second floor of the center.

City administrator Kathy Bailey says Ankeny Builders of Blue Earth was the successful bidder for the project with a low bid of $497,169.

“They are the general contractor on the project,” Bailey says. “But the new addition walls are prestressed concrete panels built and installed by Wells Concrete.”

A large crane was moved into position last Tuesday that will lift the panels into place on the footings, Bailey says. After that the roof is installed with the crane as well.

“We are a couple of weeks behind on the project,” she adds. “We had planned for a mid-November start, but Wells Concrete is so busy we had to wait.”

The administrator says the plan is still to get the outside walls and roof up fast to enclose the structure, then continue to work on the inside during the winter months. The demolition of the current office and locker rooms will happen next spring.

Bailey says one of the wall panels from Wells Concrete contains an artistic relief of the fitness center that is precast into the panel.

“When it is finished and painted it will be part of the sign for the fitness center,” she says. “I can’t wait to see that.”

What has not been determined yet is the exact method of paying for the project. While the City Council plans to use annual profits from the center to pay off a $500,000 bond over 15 years, they have not yet determined which of three different bonding options they will use.

“Currently we are funding the work with our cash reserves,” Bailey says. “Until we go through the bonding process later.”

The council had previously authorized up to $625,000 for the total project cost.