Bids ordered for first phase of Coon Rapids golf course project

Bids have been ordered by the Coon Rapids City Council for the first phase of an expansion project at the city’s Bunker Hills Golf Course.

The council March 5 approved plans and specifications for the site work (grading, trails, landscaping and turf restoration) and construction of a new driving range, practice green and short-game area.

The council will consider a contract award at its April 16 meeting and construction will start right away – weather permitting.

According to Tim Anderson, golf pro/manager, the new driving range and practice green, along with relocating, creating and sodding four new tee boxes from their current locations on the course, need to be completed by June 1.

That’s because the Minnesota State High School League golf tournament will be played at Bunker Hills June 10 and the new facilities need to be ready for that event, Anderson said.

The short-game area as well as the new learning center building – the latter is the second phase of the overall project – will be completed by mid-July, he said.

“We will be trying to minimize the impact of the construction on our golf course customers as much as possible,” Anderson said.

“We are committed to the best possible experience for our golfers.”

The learning center building construction is being handled through the construction management process with construction manager Amcon Construction, not the city, in charge of the bidding process but with final action on the contract awards by the council.

Herfort-Norby Golf Course Architects LLC has completed the design work for the driving range, practice green and short-game area project, while Partners & Sirney Architects, who designed the new Bunker Hills Golf Course, is finalizing plans for the learning center for which the city has partnered with GolfTEC Minnesota, according to Tim Himmer, city public works director.

“The projects have been divided in this way to minimize disruptions to the users of the golf course, efficiently manage construction costs (different trades) and to meet the tight timeline for completion…,” Himmer wrote in a report to the council.

Like the site work for the new driving range, practice green and short-game area, the learning center building project is scheduled for completion by mid-July, he said.

The existing driving range and practice green were designed and built for an 18-hole golf complex, not the 36-hole facility that is now at Bunker Hills, Anderson said.

“There is too much activity and a lot of traffic which has overwhelmed the area, made it unmanageable and resulted in people waiting,” he said.

Expansion and renovation of the general practice area will provide for more teeing ground and additional practice opportunities, Anderson said.

The expanded driving range will accommodate more people and have a concrete tee line 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep which will allow the turf to continue to grow.

The new short-game area will be placed in the northwest corner of the driving range for practicing bunker shots, chips and wedges to three target greens in the driving range, while the new practice green will be located south and east of existing practice green area by using open space south of the cart path and north of the snack shop.

The estimated cost of the project is between $835,000 and $965,000, but the new facilities are anticipated to generate additional annual revenue of $55,000 and $100,000 annually through an increased practice sales, rents and various additional instructional revenues to repay the debt, according to Anderson.

The council approved the project financing by adding $800,000 to a general obligation bond issue which was sold in January and would be paid back from golf course revenues as a public purpose, according to Finance Director Sharon Legg.

The balance of the project cost for the learning center which involves a private entity, GolfTEC, will be paid for through an internal loan from the special assessment fund, Legg said.

In January, the council also approved a lease agreement with GolfTEC Minnesota (GTMN Partners, LLC) to operate the new, 1,340 square-foot golf instruction learning center at Bunker Hills.

The lease agreement with GolfTEC goes into effect April 1. It runs through Sept. 30, 2018 with an option for another five years.

According to Anderson, GolfTEC will be using the golf simulator room at the Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse for its lessons until the new learning center opens in mid-July.

Under the lease agreement, GolfTEC will pay an initial rent of $500 a month which will increase incrementally to $1,500 a month during the initial term of the lease.

In addition, GolfTEC will contribute to the utilities costs and pay a portion of the property tax generated by the agreement (up to $4,800 per year), while the city will receive 5 percent of the revenue from all golf lessons given by GolfTEC at Bunker Hills as well as revenue from golf club sales.

Having GolfTEC on board will provide a “high quality, world class golf instructional facility,” Anderson said.

The learning center, which will have two bays and a welcome area, will be equipped with state-of-the-art teaching technology and staffed with full-time, year-round PGA golf professionals.

GolfTEC has 165 instructional centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan.

But Bunker Hills will be the only GolfTEC location in Minnesota – it has four other sites – at a golf course.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]