County fine-tuning deal with architect for remodel

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The county board is still fine-tuning the agreement with Paul R. Johnson Architects for the Austin company’s work on the joint Mower County Government Center and Law Enforcement Center remodel.

Johnson met with the county board after its regular meeting to discuss the remodel and issues like change orders, or unforeseen consequences that would require the firm to charge more or less for the project.

Johnson is proposing to receive a 6 percent fee for change orders approved, as well as time and material reimbursement for change orders that do not get approved, according to Oscarson.

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Johnson, County Coordinator Craig Oscarson, the building committee — Commissioners Mike Ankeny and Jerry Reinartz — and John Pristash of Knutson Construction will meet next Tuesday to further discuss the project.

Oscarson said formal approval of an agreement with Paul Johnson Architects will likely come at the board’s next meeting on Feb. 28.

The county’s cost for the two projects is about $4.6 million — about $3.8 million for the government center remodel and about $800,000 for the county’s share of remodeling the Law Enforcement Center. Including all costs — county and non-county — County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the entire project is closer to $6 million.

“It’ll be a good project,” Oscarson said

“It’ll be intense,” Johnson added.

Handled in-house

Work to remodel the Law Enforcement Center and Government Center could begin sooner than expected — at least on part of the project.

The county board voted to perform cosmetic changes to the detective offices on its own without going through the architect and construction manager.

The only changes anticipated in the offices are some paint and wall work, new carpeting and possibly some new doors.

The board will likely take bids on the carpeting and wall work.

By making the changes outside the scope of the remodel, the board expects to save a little money and speed up some of the work.

However, Johnson warned the board to hold off on completing such work on its own. Part of the overall remodel will be to update the phones systems and check for leaky piping. If something is off in the detectives’ offices, then they could need to tear into the walls to fix it.

Old library lot for sale

The Mower County Board could be putting up the old library parking lot for sale, since two local companies are interested in purchasing the spot.

Even though the county board needs to secure off-street parking with Health and Human Services slated to move downtown, the board is interested in selling the parking spaces located a few blocks from the Government Center.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said employees don’t seem to like using the lot, and Public Works Director Mike Hanson is looking at estimates for added parking on the north side of the Jail and Justice Center.

The green space was left vacant for future jail expansion, but Oscarson noted any potential growth is a long way in the future.