County community services building plan takes shapeThe dream is beginning to take shape. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Carlton County Board, commissioners got their first official look at the schematic design for the proposed new health and human services building, now referred to as the Carlton County Community Services Center, to be located adjacent to the city hall building in downtown Cloquet.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The dream is beginning to take shape.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Carlton County Board, commissioners got their first official look at the schematic design for the proposed new health and human services building, now referred to as the Carlton County Community Services Center, to be located adjacent to the city hall building in downtown Cloquet.
The building is slated to house not only Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, but the income maintenance, veterans’ services, motor vehicles, information services, and child support departments as well as the Workforce Center and WIC Clinic.
John McNamara of Wold Architects and Engineers of St. Paul presented the schematic design plan to commissioners for their approval, with an eye toward moving forward to the design development phase, slated for completion in early March.
The board unanimously approved the schematic design for the building, at the same time officially putting on hold a parallel design for a government services center proposed for land adjacent to the Carlton County Transportation Building just off Old Highway 62 in rural Carlton.
According to the space summary in the Wold schematic design plan, the Community Services Building would encompass a total of 35,986 square feet, with associated project fees amounting to $8,700,000. Land acquisition costs are estimated to be an additional $380,000 and site development costs are budgeted for approximately $500,000, for a total project cost of $9,580,000.
McNamara explained that the projected cost would cover the construction of a facility that would meet the current needs of the various departments to be housed there. Wold submitted an additional estimate for a slightly larger building plan that would contain space for future expansion, based on Wold’s growth analysis of the county through the year 2015. That plan called for a building with 39,500 square feet at a total project cost of $10,380,000.
The proposed building would be located adjacent to the Cloquet City Hall building, extending north along 13th Street up to the existing K-1 Sports building. A parking lot is planned for the space occupied by the current health and human services building, as well as possibly up to three existing businesses, including the Golden Token, Cloquet Cleaners and the J & B Treasure Store.
The schematic design for the facility would necessitate partial closure of sections of Avenue C and 13th Street to accommodate the plan. Three entry points to the building are identified in the design – one from the parking lot, one from the side closest to city hall and one from Cloquet Avenue.
“Our goal has been to respect the existing businesses and not overpower them,” said McNamara. “We have also worked to achieve buffer space [between the facility and other businesses] and preserve green space as well,” he added.
The Wold firm is now slated to return to the county board on March 10 for approval of the project’s design development phase.
There are still a number of approval stages before the project gets the county’s final go ahead, but if all goes as planned, the building could be completed as early as summer 2010.
In a related measure, the board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the county to bond for any future expenses incurred by the proposed building project, including such things as design fees and staff time.
The board also authorized Facilities Director Mike Stafford to enter into negotiations with John Koski, owner of the Golden Token, 1202 Avenue B, to discuss the purchase of the former gas station property.