Cloquet athletic facility project takes step forward

The Cloquet School Board approved a construction manager and a bidding process for the proposed $4.5 million renovation project at its meeting Monday, Nov. 28. Officials also laid out tentative plans to pay for the costs of the project.

Garfield School
Garfield School in Cloquet
File / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CLOQUET — The Cloquet School District's large-scale athletic renovation project took a step forward Monday, Nov. 28, with the selection of a bidding process and a contractor for construction management at the regular board meeting held in Garfield School.

Board members Gary “Hawk” Huard, Ken Scarbrough, Nate Sandman and Dave Battaglia voted unanimously to approve the bidding process through Sourcewell and to designate Kraus-Anderson as the project’s contractor for construction management. Board chair Ted Lammi and board member Melissa Juntunen were absent from the meeting.

The full scope of the approximately $4.5 million project includes the installation of a turf field, a new track, a new field events space, four new tennis courts and potentially new fencing and a paved entryway at Cloquet High School.

With the bidding process through Sourcewell selected and Kraus-Anderson designated as the contractor for construction management, the next steps include acquiring a designer and finalizing a design; geotechnical investigation (acquire soil borings); and surveying, according to a presentation given by Kraus-Anderson representatives during the board's working session.

The administrative fee associated for using Sourcewell with Kraus-Anderson begins at 7.5% on a varying scale. According to Chris Arenz, Gordian/Sourcewell account manager, the fee should fall closer to 6% for this specific project given its size and scope. At 6% of $4.5 million, the fee would amount to $270,000.


After a design is finalized and a overall cost is determined, Superintendent Michael Cary said the next step will be to bring the plan before the board for a vote.

“We would bring that price back to the board and they would then make the decision whether or not we continue forward with the project and the associated costs,” Cary said. “And so at that time we would have some conversation about the associated potential costs for the project.”

Through preliminary discussions, Cary said the project could be financed with some of the district’s capital facility funds, a portion of federal funds officials have conditional pre-approval on, along with donations collected by a community fundraising group.

The presentation during the working session outlined the pros and cons of two available project delivery methods through Sourcewell and Construction Management-Agency (CM-A).

Sourcewell, which was utilized for the Cloquet High School waterproofing project in 2020, offers cooperative purchasing for government and education agencies through pre-priced and unit-based metrics, according to slides from the presentation. CM-A, which was used for the new Cloquet Middle School and related remodeling projects, includes a construction manager involved in all project stages in an advisory role and performing services as agent of the district.

Among the biggest selling points for Sourcewell is the ability to hand-pick contractors rather than having to go with the low-bidder in the case of CM-A.

“There are times when we get contractors that we know full well can’t really do a great job in an area, but if they’re the low-bid we gotta take the contract,” Greg Schendel, a project manager with Kraus-Anderson, said. “Then about halfway through we find out that they can’t do it, and we actually had that problem once.”

Cary shared his preference for the Sourcewell route, citing the expedited start time for the project, in addition to the uncertainty of inflationary costs in the years ahead. A conflicting construction project on 22nd Street scheduled for the summer of 2024 was another factor.


“It would add complications with the project if we’re trying to simultaneously do our renovation while they’ve got that road all torn up in terms of moving in and out heavy equipment and other kind of key pieces like that,” Cary said.

According to Cary and representatives from Kraus-Anderson, there is a possibility that the renovated facility could be completed in time for the fall sports season through the Sourcewell process.

“Schedule wise, Sourcewell is a little bit better because we can hand-pick partners early on, get things ordered sooner instead of waiting to get the plans done, and then bid it and then write a contract and then the order,” Schendel explained.

Cloquet High School grad Aidan Ripp was one of six student-athletes competing for Team USA in the Nordic Combined event at the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid, New York.

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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