Port authority OKs extra $236K in Institute expansion costs

Published 10:18 am Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Hormel Institute is well on its way to finish construction at some point this year, but a late start and a University of Minnesota partnership has made things a bit more pricey to build.

The Austin Port Authority approved on Wednesday more than $236,000 in change orders for various contractors as added costs have come up. According to Project Manager Jon Erichson, the bulk of the recent change orders have come due to extra precautions from the U of M partnership, as well as the late construction schedule caused by a delay in state fending.

“It was clearly the right thing to do, but it was also painful to do,” Erichson said.

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The project incurred about $151,000 in extra costs after workers conducted an extra hazardous materials study on the site at the request of U of M officials. Workers had to estimate the kind of chemicals and other materials scientists would work with once the project is completed, but their estimates didn’t meet U of M standards, so workers had to redo much of the addition’s duct work.

The expansion is scheduled to be completed later this year, along with a $4.5 million Live Learning Center, which will feature a multifunction room and a 250-seat auditorium with theater-style seating. That will include up-to-date communication technology for better broadcasting and online conferencing. With the new technology, researchers in the auditorium will be able to participate in presentations and discussions with other scientists from anywhere around the world.