Perkins + Will gets nod for community center planning

The Wadena city council voted unanimously to contract with Perkins + Will for the planning phase of the proposed new community center and to name Kraus-Anderson as construction managers contingent on funding on a special Monday meeting.

The Wadena city council voted unanimously to contract with Perkins + Will for the planning phase of the proposed new community center and to name Kraus-Anderson as construction managers contingent on funding on a special Monday meeting.

School board chairwoman Ann Pate attended the meeting.

Council members made the decision after interviews and presentations by Steve Miller of Perkins + Will, John Huenink and Chad Rettke of Kraus-Anderson and prospective owner's representative Duane Kell.

"If Perkins + Will sees value in Mr. Kell's services, that they should consult with them on their own basis within the $30,000, it gives us some time to think about it," Wolden said.

During Miller's interview, the council discussed co-location.


"There's some anxiety out there about this idea of co-locating and joining the two buildings together," Miller said. "We have worked on projects ... where there's a property line that runs through the building, and the city owns that side and the school district owns this side. And there's a pre-existing legal agreement that says, here's how the utility bills will be split ... I think that the biggest concern that I've heard is ongoing operations cost for both the school and for the wellness center. We're not a rich community. We don't have a big tax base."

City Administrator Brad Swenson said that co-location would improve the project's chances with the Legislature.

"I truly believe that with Perkins + Will and with Kraus-Anderson, there's going to be some very credible information that will help us to come to a decision that will understand how these two can co-locate together and how we can work out some type of usage situation," Pate said.

Council member Toby Pierce said Memorial Auditorium was built in connection with the school during the Great Depression.

"It can be done. It has been done," he said.

Council member Jeanette Baymler said that the fairgrounds had a similar situation with the city owning the grandstand and the county ag society owning the buildings.

Council member Kay Browne said that kids in Perham go to their town's community center after school.

"The students after school could just walk through to this other recreational center," she said.


Miller said that the proposed plan would be efficient.

"Any building that we design is going to be a green building," he said.

Miller talked about geothermal heating during the presentation.

"The heat that is made in order to freeze the ice, it's used by other buildings on the campus," he said.

He described the ice arena and pool for the proposed community center as having a "symbiotic relationship."

"The ice arena always expels heat and the pool always ... needs more heat," he said.

Miller outlined the costs to hire Perkins + Will. Phase 1 planning would be a flat fee of $30,000, and Phase 2 would be 6 percent of construction.

Swenson said that the $750,000 grant from the Minnesota special session would probably take them through to the bidding phase.


Kraus-Anderson was the second entity to be interviewed.

Rettke said that Kraus-Anderson would identify as much local contractor interest as they could.

"It's their building as well when it's done. It's not just another building that they're working on," he said.

Huenink showed council members a book detailing the company, the phases of construction, some resumes and the fees. He added that because of the economy, fees were less than they used to be.

"We've got our post-construction phase as well," Rettke said. "We're there for not only the one-year warranty period ... but we're there well after that."

Rettke said that they would not get any markup on any possible change orders.

Baymler asked about partnering with the two local lumberyards, and Huenink said that they would probably have an account with them.

Kell, a consultant since his retirement from Anthony Kell Architects in 2007, presented his qualifications to the council. He said he understood the implications of design systems and was involved with more than 30 community recreation centers.


Kell said that there was the possibility to get the Army National Guard involved with the wellness center, that the elementary building could be made into an arts center if the WDC school district eventually adds the younger grades to the new facility, and that the new building could include childcare and babysitting services and banquet and kitchen facilities.

Kell proposed working 955 total hours and with fees of 1 percent of construction. He said that he had a historic familiarity with the Wadena community center project.

Baymler said that there was no guarantee for the replacement community center to get into the state bonding bill.

She said that the council needed to talk directly to the school board, and Pate said she would look into it.

Wolden told the council that he had talked with Pate and Virginia Dahlstrom, and that Swenson had also talked to Dahlstrom.

"I'm hearing clearly from the school is that, as would I, they would like to hear from Kraus-Anderson and Perkins + Will," Wolden said.

Baymler said the council should discuss internally whether they could hire anybody and whether Swenson could do the job Kell was proposing.

After the interviews, the council members met to discuss whether or not to hire the three firms.


Niles said that he had a hard time paying Duane Kell more than Perkins + Will during the first phase and suggested allowing Perkins + Will to hire him if they chose.

Pierce said they could negotiate an offer for Kell.

The council discussed whether Swenson could act as the city's point person.

Swenson said he wouldn't have time the first three months, but would have a normal routine later.

Browne said that Kell cared about the project but cost was an issue.

Wolden said there should be a recommendation for the council on their regular meeting the next week.

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