Atwater may serve as the contractor for proposed municipal building project
ATWATER -- The Atwater City Council is adopting a do-it-yourself plan for constructing a new municipal building. The council wants to be its own general contractor for a new building it wants to build to house the city office, police department a...
ATWATER -- The Atwater City Council is adopting a do-it-yourself plan for constructing a new municipal building. The council wants to be its own general contractor for a new building it wants to build to house the city office, police department and library.
Mayor Bruce Baker recommended on Wednesday that nearly every component of the project, from the plumbing to the insulation, be bid separately. Usually with government projects, a bid is awarded to a general contractor who then hires and manages the sub-contractors.
With the help of their building inspector, council members will draw up the bid forms for the project at their next meeting by using blueprints provided by a draftsman from Bork Lumber of Paynesville. In an effort to reduce costs, the council doesn't intend to use an architect for the project, City Clerk Goldie Smith said.
It's hoped bids can be awarded in March, but councilman Dale Tagtow said that timeline may be a little aggressive.
To help keep costs down even more, the town's public works staff may be put to work to haul gravel for the base, pour the footings and rough-in the water and sewer lines for the 4,560-square-foot building.
If plans advance to construct the building this spring, the council won't even use a banker to finance the project.
The council intends to use reserve funds -- estimated in the neighborhood of $350,000 -- to pay for the building.
Don Peterson, an Atwater resident, questioned the council about doing the project without giving citizens an opportunity to vote on it.
The council intends to hold a public meeting. However, because a bond isn't necessary to fund the project, the council has decided not to put the issue to a public vote.
That doesn't mean the project is a "done deal," said Tagtow.
He added that the council wants to hear what residents think about the proposed project. He said the council intends to get "firm figures" for the project before a community meeting is held to hear concerns and questions from residents.
"We want to hear from the residents very much," he said. "Before they take that first shovel of dirt, we are having a meeting."
Three years ago residents soundly defeated a proposed $725,000 bond to build a $902,000 municipal building.
Tagtow said since then, the council has researched many options to meet the city's building needs -- especially finding a new, permanent home for the library -- including renovating old buildings.
The best solution they've come up with is to drastically cut costs to build a new facility.
"I've scratched my head, and if anybody has a suggestion, for gosh sakes tell me," Tagtow said.
The council has said that if the cost estimates exceed the city's reserves, the project will not take place.
The city office and police department is currently housed in the town's old depot and the library is located in a rented commercial building. The council is proposing to build the new municipal building on city property on the same lot and, when the new construction is completed, move the depot to the Atwater Threshers' park where it'll be maintained as a historic building.