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Community center board looks at cost, timeline

FAIRMONT — The community center advisory board set the general cost estimate for the proposed community center at $30 million, with a spring 2023 construction start during its meeting Wednesday afternoon at city hall in Fairmont.

Members of the advisory board include Brandon Edmundson, Michael Edman, Kyle Gustafson and Lisa Kuhl. The council liaisons are Randy Lubenow and Michelle Miller, and Mat Mahoney is the Fairmont School District liaison. City Administrator Cathy Reynolds is the city staff representative.

This was the second time the board has met. It will meet on the second Wednesday of each month.

Reynolds provided members of the board a draft of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction manager services, which included the schedule and timeline of events.

As it stands, fundraising will be ongoing from now through 2024. The final concept and phasing plan development would be between November of this year and February 2022. Construction documents will be prepared between September and December 2022.

“We would go out for bidding end of 2022, beginning of 2023, and get all of the contracts in place and construction started once ground is ready near April (2023),” said Reynolds.

“All of this will be subject to change by the ultimate construction manager,” Edmundson pointed out.

Reynolds said she believes the final concept and phasing plan development might be bumped out past February 2022.

“I think there’s a lot of things in the fundraising bucket that will have a lot to do with that,” she said.

Last month the project received a big boost in the form of $4.5 million in private funding from Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, the Rosen family and the Krahmer family. The city of Fairmont has committed $14 million toward construction.

As for the total project cost estimate, members on the board were hesitant to include numbers in the RFP.

Some marketing materials have been handed out in the community which include a potential design, featuring an indoor pool, field house, community rooms, fitness center and ice arena operated by the Fairmont Hockey Association. With those features, the cost estimate is about $36 million.

“I think that’s a bit of a wish-list deal,” said Edmundson.

He said he thinks the target should be closer to $30 million and pointed out the job of the board is taking what they all want and turning it into something that they can afford.

“That’s why I talk about designing it and then we’ll design it down,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds said she would change the draft to include $30 million project cost, but she said the biggest thing was having bidding begin in January 2023.

The plan is to issue the RFP on Sept. 14, have questions from the board in later this month and have responses from questions due early October. RFP submittals would be due around Oct. 11.

Reynolds told the board they should plan to do interviews with potential construction managers somewhere around Oct. 21-25.

“We’ll do a scoresheet and usually you’re evaluating them based on their experience with similar projects, timelines, cost,” Reynolds said.

Edmundson asked how long it would take after selecting a construction manager that a fundraising goal could be set.

“That’s a great question for the construction managers we interview. It’s hard to say,” said Edman.

“It’s going to take getting the architect on board to get the design to get fundraising numbers,” Reynolds said.

Edmundson said the fundraising committee will need to move forward with whatever goal they have in mind, either $30 million, $36 million or something else since the final cost won’t be known until the final design is complete.

More information on the Fairmont Area Community Center can be found at fairmontcommunitycenter.com.

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