Weather Forecast


Yellow Medicine Co., Minn., authorizes architects to prepare plans to remodel building

GRANITE FALLS — Yellow Medicine County is moving forward with plans to remodel a newly acquired building that will hold many of the county offices most frequented by the public.

The County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a motion Tuesday authorizing Wold Architects of St. Paul to develop schematic designs for remodeling a former bank building in downtown Granite Falls. The county recently purchased the 8,635-square-foot facility from Fagen Inc. for $450,000.

It will cost an estimated $550,250 to remodel the facility, based on an early conceptual plan presented to the commissioners at their meeting Tuesday by architects John McNamara and Joel Dunning of Wold Architects. The largest cost for the remodeling is an estimated $140,000 to install an elevator in the two-level facility.

The current plans call for moving the county’s administration, property, records, assessor, information technology, and finance offices from the first floor of the courthouse to the downtown building. It will also hold the county commissioners’ meeting room.

The plans aim to provide a “one-stop shop” of services to customers, while meeting security and storage needs for the county and staff, according to McNamara.

The architects said the county could also consider $169,000 worth of work beyond the $550,250 recommended to adapt the building for county needs. The estimated cost is similar to an early $500,000 estimate the county considered when deciding whether to purchase and remodel the building instead of building new.

The plans to be developed by Wold Architects will allow the county to put the project up for bidding next spring, if the commissioners decide to do so.

The architects are also completing a space needs study for the commissioners that will be presented in January. The commissioners are looking at the possibility of moving the county attorney’s office — now in a leased building in downtown Granite Falls — to the first floor of the courthouse. They have also heard a request from the Eighth Judicial District for an upgrade to the court services area of the courthouse. The court services are located on the second floor of the 1889 building.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract with Springsted of St. Paul to conduct a search for a new county administrator. Current Administrator Ryan Krosch is leaving at the end of the year to become the Nicollet County administrator.

The commissioners opted not to appoint an interim county administrator, as previously considered. Instead, the commissioners authorized Janel Timm, property and public services director, to perform the duties of clerk of the board and other statutory obligations now the responsibility of the administrator. Finance and Administration Deputy Tegan Laleman will manage county meeting agendas and related work. Department heads, County Attorney Keith Helgeson and the board chairman to be selected for the new year will manage other duties. Krosch said a replacement administrator will likely not be in place until May.

The commissioners had considered appointing Michelle May, county finance director, or Peggy Heglund, family services director, as interim director, or possibly as co-interim directors. They noted at the meeting that both are possible candidates for the permanent position. Timm said she was not planning to apply for the position.

The commissioners also approved action to raise their current annual salary from $18,858 to $20,858, a 10.6 percent increase, in 2013. They also approved raising the per diem reimbursement from $40 to $50 for one-half day and $80 to $100 for a full day. Both motions were approved on a 3-2 vote, with Louis Sherlin, Gary Renneke and Gary Johnson voting “yes” and Ron Antony and John Berends “no.”

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335