County moving ahead on building construction projects

The Anoka County Board has awarded contracts for three projects.

One will renovate the Anoka County Veterans Service Office at the Anoka County Government Center; another will construct a new restroom building at Locke Park, Fridley, which was destroyed by fire; and the third will renovate the parking lot behind the Anoka County office on Central Avenue in Columbia Heights.

Construction Results Corporation, Plymouth, was awarded the contract not to exceed $58,400 for the work at the veterans service office.

According to Andrew Dykstra, county director of facilities management and construction, there has been a 118 percent increase in visits to the veterans office since 2004 and a 51 percent increase since 2007, resulting in additional employees and increased workload.

Indeed, County Commissioner Robyn West, who chairs the board’s veterans service sub-committee, said that year-to-date veterans service office visits from 2011 and 2012 have jumped 16 percent.

Under the current configuration, there are four offices, but there are five veterans service officers in addition to a full-time receptionist and part-time administrative assistant, Dykstra wrote in a memo to the board.

The remodeling work will include construction of computer kiosks, which will allow veterans to begin the paperwork process saving the county time and resources over the long-term, he wrote.

In addition, secure space will be provided for files than contain sensitive information and accommodations made for wheelchairs or personal scooters, Dykstra wrote.

According to County Commissioner Matt Look, chairman of the board’s Finance and Capital Improvements Committee, the office will be expanding to hallway space that is not in use.

The project cost will come from dollars in the Anoka County Building Fund.

A fire in fall 2011 destroyed the restroom building in Locke Park, which had been built in 2000 and contained two family/accessible restrooms and a mechanical/storage area.

A contract for a replacement structure at the park was also awarded to Construction Results Corporation in amount not to exceed $133,850.

The low bid was recommended for approval by the board’s parks and recreation and finance and capital improvements committees.

The cost of the project will be covered from the insurance pay-out the county received as a result of the fire, Look said.

“This was vandalism, not fun and games, and very costly to repair,” he said.

A 1981 joint powers agreement between the county and the city of Columbia Heights, as part of the city’s downtown redevelopment at 40th and Central avenues, provides for joint maintenance and operation of the parking lot.

The renovation project will mill and overlay the parking lot at a cost of $63,812.25 with the city paying two-fifths of the cost ($25,524.90) and the county three-fifths of the bill ($38,287.35) per the joint powers agreement.

The county share will come from dollars in the county building fund, according to Dykstra.

Look would like to renegotiate the contract at some point, he said.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]