Renovations to the new Yellow Medicine County government center are expected to begin as early as this June and be completed this fall, following the approval of $564,000 in bids by YMC commissioners Tuesday afternoon.
Earl Fuechtman, project manager with Contegrity Group, of Little Falls, and John McNamara, project architect and partner with Wold Architects of St. Paul were in attendance for Tuesday’s meeting to review the construction bids prior to the board member vote.
Built in 1974, the building originally housed the Yellow Medicine County Bank but more recently served as Fagen Engineering offices. This past fall the county purchased the 8,635 square foot structure for $450,000 in order to relieve long-running space constraints.
In effect the move creates a government center separate from the courthouse where the public will be able to go for services relating to land records, property assessment, taxation, elections, vital statistics and licenses other than drivers and motor vehicles.
The entire cost of the project is expected to come in at approximately $1.1 million when taking into account the building’s purchase price, construction bids as well as architectural and construction fees and other costs. According to Fuechtman, the final construction bids were within $2,000 of the estimate he presented to the board in March, however, earlier numbers provided to the board last fall by former YMC Administrator Ryan Krosch projected renovation expenses to be in the range of $250,000 to $350,000.
The board approved the construction bids with a 3-2 vote with commissioners John Berends, Ron Antony and Greg Renneke voting in favor and Louis Sherlin and Gary Johnson voting against. Johnson expressed concerns about the cost of the building given Krosch’s original numbers, while Sherlin said he wanted to the board to make a motion that included both construction estimates and less essential alternate projects, which included aesthetic improvements such as the removal of the building’s west-side overhang.
A 4-1 vote, in which only Johnson dissented, saw the board approve the alternate projects, which Fuechtman said would be most cost efficient if undertaken with the rest of the contract work.
“It will be much cleaner,” he said of the building’s material continuity and aesthetics.
According to board members it was the unexpected costs of an elevator, new roof, bathrooms and other elements that caused the price tag to balloon. Despite the higher costs, Chairman Antony said that the purchase and renovations would still come in well below the $2.8 million that it was projected to build like infrastructure from scratch.