Capital bond master plan to be reviewed further

With almost $17 million in suggested improvements, the county is looking at where to start.

Wadena County Commissioners will look at a more streamlined version of a project cost summary in the near future as they look at future building maintenance needs in the county. This particular list shows a possible list of $17 million in facility updates to county-owned buildings. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Wadena County Commissioners hope to get a handle on a long list of possible building repair and remodeling projects summarized in a capital bond master plan they reviewed Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The plan put together by BHH Partners, a planning and architectural firm, includes a summary with a bit of sticker shock, including over $17 million in possible projects. Understanding that there is not that much money readily available, Wadena County Coordinator Ryan Odden requested that the commission allow him to break down the plan into manageable bites and help the board prioritize what needs to be done and when. The plan includes a 40-page assessment along with extra appendixes focusing on mechanical, electrical and other engineering needs.

Wadena County Capital Plan by inforumdocs on Scribd

“It’s a lot of good information,” Odden said. “I think we could just do it in a better format.”

In a quick review, it became clear that some of the work was already underway, while others were items that may never be completed. The board had different opinions on priorities right off the bat.


By consensus, the board agreed that Odden should move ahead with his planning. Once the commission looks over the draft prepared by Odden, they would plan to have a public hearing to further discuss the capital needs.

Odden said he’d like to look out over five to 10 years at costs and determine how much they would have to start saving to make these improvements. Some of the improvements he noted should lead to a cost savings in the county. He mentioned the utility costs to heat and cool the courthouse alone, sometimes both at the same time, adds up to about $100,000 annually, or 1% of the levy.

Odden said he wanted to move ahead with this because the lack of support in the past to approve a maintenance project has come from the question of what other building needs are there in the county.

“The hesitancy I always get from the board is what else is out there?” Odden said.

This would lay it all on the table. At least for the moment.

The plan looks at all county buildings including storage garages, Friendly Rider, Public Health, Human Services, the Wensman Building, road garages and extensive plans of improving or adding onto the courthouse.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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