by TaLeiza Calloway
Plans for the construction of a new city center in St. Joseph continues to move forward after a recent vote by the St. Joseph City Council.
Council members unanimously voted to contract with St. Cloud architectural firm R.A. Morton for construction-management services for the city hall project. The St. Cloud firm provided similar services for the construction of the new Sauk Rapids Government Center and new police headquarters in St. Cloud.
The city’s facilities committee interviewed three architectural firms Aug. 2. City Administrator Judy Weyrens said it was narrowed down to R.A. Morton and Winkelman Building Corp. Despite a cost difference between $4o,000 and $50,000, R.A. Morton’s experience made it worth the cost, city council member Renee Symanietz said of the three firms interviewed last week. Council member Dale Wick agreed.
“It came out in the interview that they have a little bit more experience in the government area,” Wick said.
Weyrens explained the difference in costs comes down to a breakdown of a flat pre-construction services fee and cost of construction, calculated by a percentage of the project’s cost. The committee reviewed cost estimates based on an anticipated project cost ranging between $2.5 million and $3 million, Weyrens said.
The contract with R.A. Morton includes a pre-construction service fee of $15,000, plus reimbursable expenses with a construction cost of 7.8 percent on a $2.5 million project and 6.5 percent on $3 million project.
Winkelman proposed a pre-construction fee of $12,000 with no design fee if the project moves forward, Weyrens said. It would cost 7.4 percent on a $2 million project and 5.16 percent on a $3 million project.
“It’s a little more, but we think the experience will save you money in the long run,” Weyrens told council members.
Preston Euerle, owner and president of R.A. Morton, said he expects construction to take about eight months with one additional month needed to wrap up the project. He also assured council members that they would see a cost savings throughout the process.
“Our services are based on time more than anything else,” Euerle said. “Our experience and our approach to finding value in our services that will ultimately give you more project for more budget.”
Weyrens said the city conducted a space evaluation in 2008. Departments will review this information to see if more or the same type of space will be needed in a potential new facility.