Weather Forecast


Yellow Medicine County, Minn., building uncertainties rise with possible cost

The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners is waiting for cost estimates to remodel this building. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

GRANITE FALLS — Costs and uncertainties appear to be on the rise as the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners addresses the county’s building needs.

The commissioners learned Tuesday that a portion of the roof of a building newly acquired for county office use is leaking. The commissioners took action to make replacement of either portions or all of the roof part of an overall project to remodel the former Yellow Medicine County Bank building for county use.

Replacing the entire roof, as is being recommended, could cost an estimated $56,000, according to project manager Earl Fuechtmann of Contegrity Group in Little Falls.

The county acquired the 8,635-square-foot building for $450,000. Wold Architects of St. Paul is currently preparing a cost estimate to remodel it to hold the county’s finance and administration, property and public service offices now housed on the first floor of the courthouse.

A preliminary estimate had pegged the remodeling project in the neighborhood of $550,000, which includes installing an elevator.

The commissioners voted Tuesday to instruct Fuechtmann to obtain quotes for borings and an analysis of the sub-surface where the elevator will be installed. They also directed that the same process be conducted at the courthouse a few blocks away. The commissioners rejected a proposal by Braun Intect to provide a boring and analysis at the county office building site.

The action may delay the call for bids on the remodeling, which is tentatively planned for an April letting. The commissioners noted that it would be more cost-effective to having borings completed at two locations once a company is mobilized to provide the service.

The county is still in the early stages of deciding what type of remodeling to undertake in the 1889 courthouse building. At a minimum, the county is interested in remodeling a portion of the building to accommodate the county attorney, who is now located in an office building leased in downtown Granite Falls.

Wold Architects is also developing proposals to remodel the facility to improve security and upgrade the courtroom and offices for court services. Representatives of the District 8 court services administration had earlier urged the board to consider upgrading the facilities.

Ron Antony, board chairman, said the architects will also provide possible plans for an overall upgrade of the entire facility, including a “dream’’ list of all the improvements sought.

It’s too early to attach any cost estimates to any of the options, but the commissioners are bracing themselves for a hefty price tag. There are many basic needs to address in the aged structure.

Commissioner Greg Renneke noted that the mechanical systems in the building are essentially “shot.’’

The commissioners also voiced some frustration with the process for the development of plans for the courthouse building. A subcommittee is currently handling the responsibility.

Commissioners Louis Sherlin and Gary Johnson said they would prefer that the entire board be involved in the project development, even if that meant holding full-day meetings for the purpose. “At this point we should be brought into the circle,’’ Johnson said.

Tom Cherveny

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

(320) 214-4335