It was a quieter day at the recent Wadena County Commission meeting as numerous construction projects going on at the courthouse are reaching completion.
Commissioners took a look at a couple of those projects including two small conference rooms on Tuesday during the regular board meeting.
The board agreed to move forward with some furniture purchases for those rooms, which can be utilized by staff or others in need of a conference room in the county. IT director David Hotchkiss spoke about the use of the conference rooms and how an online scheduler could be used to track the use of the rooms. The rooms are on the upper level just to the right as you climb the stairs. A mother's nursing room and a unisex bathroom have also been added upstairs across from the Auditor/Treasurer office.
While work still continues within the courthouse, a quote came in for review to replace the exterior of the old Wensman Building, which recently opened up for use by the Hope Center. The plan called for recovering the entire exterior of the building to bring that building closer to full renovation. But the cost of over $205,000, had many in the room stepping back in speculation.
The estimate from Vercon includes an EIFS covering, which was the majority of the cost, $109,000. But a cost that brought the most attention was the over $40,000 cost for coordination and supervision of the project. Commissioner Jon Kangas brought up the concern that a project that only involved exterior work should not involve an additional supervisor, a single contractor should be able to handle the project, bringing the cost down considerably. Details in the project estimate suggested that the project may not require supervision and other costs could be lowered if county staff or Sentence to Serve workers performed some of the prep work.
Kangas and other board members agreed that the project should go out for bids.
County auditor/treasurer Heather Olson, spoke up saying that, from her perspective, a project of that cost should hold off until other county construction projects are complete to see where fund balances land.
Commissioner Jim Hofer said they owe it to the community to make it a more presentable building, when they are able to do so, especially now that it is getting use by the public. Commissioner Chuck Horsager also hoped to have a better vision for the use of the building before sticking too much more money into the project.
The board approved moving ahead with repairing the corner of the Wensman Building, without a dollar amount, assuming it will be a small amount, with work done by county employees.
The board also allocated an additional $1,000 for additional architectural work inside the Wensman building to determine work needed for possible addition of windows and a door.