County breaks ground on Community Services Center
After virtually years of hoping and planning, the Carlton County Board took the final step Tuesday in turning a dream into reality. On a vote of 4-1, the board approved Oscar J. Boldt Company as the general contractor for a new Community Services...
After virtually years of hoping and planning, the Carlton County Board took the final step Tuesday in turning a dream into reality. On a vote of 4-1, the board approved Oscar J. Boldt Company as the general contractor for a new Community Services Center and immediately made plans to break ground on the project next Monday.
Architect John McNamara of Wold Architects of St. Paul informed commissioners that seven proposals for the project were received in late June, three of which were immediately eliminated because their
bids exceeded the maximum dollar amount for the project. McNamara explained that the board had earlier decided the county should subscribe to the "best value process" in selecting a general
contractor, asking interested parties not only to submit a bid but also stating their proposed project approach, management schedule, past experience working with staff and subcontractors, and LEED certification.
"In going over the proposals," said McNamara, "it immediately became clear that there were only two contractors who had put together the type of approach that we feel is necessary for this project."
Though the proposals were reviewed "blind" (without any names attached), explained Mike Stafford, county facilities chair, the committee later learned the final two candidates they selected were Oscar J. Boldt of Cloquet and the McGough Company of St. Paul. Boldt received the final recommendation from the committee with a bid of $7,496,795.
McNamara asked the board to act on that recommendation and move ahead with hiring Boldt as the general contractor for the project. Commissioner Gordon Aanerud questioned if local labor would be used.
"Boldt made it very clear that their emphasis would be on hiring local laborers as much they can," stated Stafford.
Aanerud also requested verification that the building project will not result in an increase to the county tax levy.
"The debt levy we now have should be able to service the debt taken on for this project well into the foreseeable future," said County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert.
Commissioner Tom Proulx offered a motion to move ahead with the building project by hiring Oscar J. Boldt as the general contractor, and Commissioner Dick Brenner seconded it.
During ensuing discussion, Aanerud stated he supports the project but expressed regret that the board hadn't chosen to build it adjacent to the County Transportation Building in rural Carlton. Pihlman said he couldn't support the project during a time in the economy when the constituents of his district were being "forced out of their homes." Pihlman cast the lone dissenting vote on the motion.
According to the space summary in the design plan developed by Wold, the new building will encompass a total of 35,986 square feet, with a total estimated project cost of $9.7 million.
The Carlton County Community Services Center will be located in downtown Cloquet and house not only Carlton County Public Health and Human Services offices, but the income maintenance, veterans' services, information services, and child support departments as well as the Workforce Center and WIC Clinic.
The county earlier authorized the restructuring of the county's capital improvement program and the issuance of bonds in an amount not to exceed $9,750,000 in support of the project.
The ground breaking for the new building is slated for 1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23, in downtown Cloquet.