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Cloquet School Board OKs two contracts for athletic facility project

Superintendent Michael Cary set a goal of having an overall financial plan to present to the board at its next meeting on Feb. 13.

Garfield School
Garfield School in Cloquet.
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CLOQUET —The district’s physical education and athletic complex project hit a milestone at the Monday, Jan. 23, school board meeting with the unanimous approval of two contracts for professional civil engineering and soil borings services.

Hermantown-based company Bolton & Menk was selected for the professional civil engineering services, which will cost a lump sum fee of $88,300. The contract includes data collection/set-up, schematic design, design development, construction documents, request for proposals and construction administration and observation.

Bolton & Menk was the lowest of four bidders for the contract with quotes ranging from $88,300 to $270,000, with the next closest bid coming in at $140,000, according to Kraus/Anderson Project Manager Greg Schendel.

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The civil engineering work done by Bolton & Menk will coincide with soil boring services approved for Braun Intertec Corporation. The Duluth-based company will be responsible for geotechnical evaluation of the project space, which is a seven-step process that will cost a total of $11,660. The work will include drilling eight test borings approximately 15 feet into the ground of the project site.

“What the soil borings are doing is, number one, verifying that we don’t have any sub-soil issues,” Schendel explained. “The other thing is are there soils under this field under the tennis courts in these areas that can we reuse in the design of this? That’s the other thing we’re trying to figure out.”

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Schendel shared that the work can begin this week now that the contracts have been approved, which will likely help determine the projects total cost faster.

Cary provided an update on how the district plans to cover the approximately $4.3 million price tag for the renovations, which will include bonding for $2 million in existing capital funds that the district brings in annually. An additional $1 million will come from existing Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds that the district has already applied and received approval for.

The final piece of the financial puzzle will likely come from a large, unknown sponsor, who has expressed interest in covering the full $1.25 million for turf installation through preliminary dialogue with members of the Cloquet School District. Cary shared that the district will meet with the sponsor this week in hopes of having an agreement in place in the near future.

The positive steps bode well for Cary’s goal of having a clearer financial picture for the scope of the project at the board’s next meeting in February.

“I’m hoping, that if everything in the universe aligns for us, and I’m saying that understanding that sometimes it doesn’t, I would love to be able to bring to the board in early February that we have a solid plan in place that’s going to cover all of the costs without any additional taxpayer dollars,” Cary said.

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