Andover seeking architects for public works campus design

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

The city of Andover is taking another step toward a new public works campus west of the Andover YMCA and Andover City Hall.

On a unanimous vote of approval on July 5, the Andover City Council asked city staff to seek requests for proposals from architectural firms that could work on the preliminary designs for a new vehicle maintenance and cold storage buildings, along with a new fuel pump station.

David Berkowitz, city engineer and public works director, said the city budgeted $50,000 for this work, which will include a space needs study and some preliminary cost estimates. Next year, the plan is to spend up to $450,000 to get final design work done before the project is bid out for construction.

The city estimated a cost of $9 million for this work in the 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Plan, approved by the council last fall.

“I think it looks like a good plan. I think it’s overdue,” said Council Member Jim Goodrich. “The public works facility we all know is in need of replacement and repair. This is something that benefits everyone in the city.”

The master plan completed by HCM Architects and Loucks Associates and accepted by the council in February 2016 calls for the public works facilities to be shifted to the northeast corner of Crosstown Boulevard and Nightingale Street. This gives the city an opportunity to have large open fields between the public works buildings and an Andover YMCA that could be expanded someday.

For public works, the city is looking at 20,000 square feet for a cold storage building and 19,500 square feet for the vehicle maintenance garage that would include a drive-thru wash bay, offices, locker room, restroom and a break room.

“This is very necessary and all along it’s been one of my priorities in the whole city campus re-design,” said Council Member Val Holthus.

The master plan calls for an additional 50,000-square-foot building beyond these two structures to be used for additional storage as well as a new recycling center. Those would be future phases, however, and the city will use existing facilities as long as possible.

A new vehicle maintenance facility and a non-heated storage building have been top priorities for public works for years. The city has been assembling land on its city campus but will not have all the land it needs until 2019, according to the purchase agreements it reached with current landowners.

The new maintenance facility would have a taller ceiling and larger vehicle doors so the largest vehicles, including Andover fire engines, could easily get inside and hoisted into the air for someone to work underneath it.

The new cold storage building would give the city space to keep equipment currently stored outdoors or in leased space.

Berkowitz pointed out that the city will ask that a fencing and landscaping plan be included in the preliminary design being worked on this year to show residents across the street what kind of visual screening there would be.

Berkowitz said construction on these two buildings and the new fuel pumps could be wrapped up before the end of 2019, but how fast other projects happen “will be determined by the city council as we go forward and it will be determined by funding.”

While the public works campus is the first priority of the council, Mayor Julie Trude said the council will continue exploring expansion opportunities for the city and YMCA-shared community center.

“This has been more than a few years in the making,” Council Member Sheri Bukkila said. “I’m happy to see that now we will get more numbers crunched.”

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