WILLMAR — After two decades of weathering the climate of west central Minnesota, the Kandiyohi County Law Enforcement Center is in need of a new roof.

"It is not well," Andy Thorson, county facility maintenance director, told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners during last week's meeting. "Now is the time to move forward with this project."

Thorson and County Administrator Larry Kleindl have been working with The Garland Company, a roofing systems company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, on a potential project for the center, estimated to cost between $1.6 and $1.8 million.

"This roof is a massive roof," Kleindl said. The building houses the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office, the Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Jail.

The County Board approved a motion to allow staff to continue working with Garland on a project. Final approval of the project, budget and a timeline will be made at a future date. A public bidding process will also be needed to find a contractor for the project.

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One of the decisions the board will need to make is whether to do the project over three to four years or get it done all at once. Staff would prefer getting it done in one year, and Brian Murreu of The Garland Company said there would be a cost savings to not dragging the project out.

"I would really prefer going with one year, get her done, instead of three, four years of disruption in the law enforcement center," Thorson said.

A roof condition report was completed by The Garland Company and it found several areas of concern. The center's roof was designed specifically to weather the climate of the area. This included the laying of pavers on top of the roof membrane, to keep it from lifting due to the high winds. The inspection of the roof showed those pavers were starting to deteriorate and there are areas where water is being held on the roof, causing leaks and vegetation growth.

The Garland Company is recommending the county install a Garland multi-ply roofing system, which Murreu said has built-in redundancies and includes a 30- to 40-year warranty.

"They are going to be a more long-term solution," Murreu said. "We are very, very mindful of the taxpayer's money."

In the past, the county has usually tried to handle any roofing projects for its facilities in house. However, the LEC roof is more challenging than a normal roof and the project will also require state board of review approval. Because of this, Thorson said he recommends working with The Garland Company, who has experience in big government projects. They have worked with Meeker County and with BOLD Schools in Renville County in the past.

"I would highly recommend this," Thorson said.

A new roof is only the latest project to be undertaken at the LEC. In 2018 the jail received technology upgrades and last year work began on a jail expansion project that includes the construction of a 2,800-square-foot addition and the remodeling of another 4,500 square feet of the jail's booking and holding area. The project will expand the booking area, add more holding cells and increase square footage in the medical area. Breitbach Construction of Elrosa was awarded the project in July 2020 with a bid price of $2,406,000.