Architect selected for expansion

RSP Architects to design Institute project

The Hormel Institute and the Austin Port Authority have an architect for the upcoming $27-million Institute expansion.

The Austin Port Authority approved RSP Architects of Minneapolis to design the Institute expansion during a public meeting Wednesday.

RSP Architects will take charge of the project for up to $1.4 million and break ground as early as next July. Construction should cost about $22 million, though city officials could cut costs in the project. RSP will be paid about 6.65 percent of the project’s final budget.

The firm had also designed The Institute’s first expansion in 2008, as well as the recent Hormel Corporate North expansion and Apple Lane Child Care Center renovation, according to project manager Jon Erichson.

“They’ve been very active players in the community,” he told the port authority.

The expansion plans will add at least 15 new labs to The Institute. Institute and port authority officials could also add an auditorium to the expansion project, though Erichson said the auditorium won’t be built if officials run out of money.

“It is very clear to us that we have $27 million for this project — and no more,” Erichson said.

Institute and city officials have worked on the project for several years, only to see it delayed this year.

The Hormel Foundation, through Learning Tree LLC, began buying properties east of the Institute for the expansion as early as September 2010, while city officials and the Institute planned to seek state dollars for the project in 2011.

State legislators secured half of the $27 million project in a 2012 bonding bill after the Hormel Foundation pledged to match state funding. The foundation announced in July it would donate $23 million to expansion efforts, with $9.5 million of that going to recruit scientists for the new labs. Foundation officials said a fundraising campaign will also be launched this fall to raise another $3 million for cancer research.

Erichson told the port authority the project would likely be split up for bid based on The Institute’s needs, such as ensuring lab animals are treated as safe and humane as possible. That means more local construction firms could bid for 20 to 25 projects under the expansion, he said.

Institute officials hope to wrap up the expansion — which will likely double the facility’s size and add about 120 employees — by 2015.

Mower County

2024 Summer SURE Internship begins at The Hormel Institute

Mower County

Major archaeological survey is underway in Mower County

Education

Photos: Back to where it began. AHS seniors walk through Woodson Kindergarten

Agriculture

Farmers must kill 4.2 million chickens after bird flu hits Iowa egg farm

News

Jury deliberations begin in Donald Trump’s hush money criminal case

Mower County

Commissioners approve resolution using federal funds to replace county bridges

Mower County

Evolve wraps up successful season

Mower County

Young Eagles Flight Rally scheduled for June 8

Mower County

Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service offers paid training program

Mower County

Fourth Grade Junior Fire State Poster Contest winners named

News

Two correctional officers sustain minor injuries after assault by two inmates at Minnesota prison

Education

In Your Community: Masons give out scholarships

News

Israeli strikes kill at least 37 Palestinians, most in tents, near Gaza’s Rafah as offensive expands

News

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Blooming Prairie

Two from Austin injured in Friday crash near Blooming Prairie

News

Minnesota lawmakers assert protections for public waters

Mower County

I-90 eastbound 4th, 6th Street ramps in Austin close May 31, Cedar River closes June 3

Mower County

Photos: Those who gave all honored on Memorial Day

Mower County

Honor those who served this Memorial Day

Education

‘Light the world on fire:’ Pacelli graduates the Class of 2024

Education

Signing ceremony a first step for students hoping to get into education

Education

Hook, line, and sinker – Lyle students made the best catch

Mower County

Austin Stormwater Resilience Plan – Open House slated for Tuesday

Mower County

Mueller awarded fellowship to attend leadership institute