When Minot was awarded $74.3 million as part of the Housing and Urban Development National Disaster Resilience competition, one of the projects in the city’s action plan was relocating Central Dispatch and City Hall away from a potential flood zone and into an existing building in downtown Minot.
In recent weeks, we’ve taken two major steps toward completing that project.
On Feb. 23, we signed paperwork to officially purchase the former Wells Fargo building. The City used Community Development Block Grant-National Disaster Resilience funds to complete the $2.601 million purchase. The approximately $12 million City Hall relocation project will use a total of $7.75 million from CDBG-NDR sources, grant dollars that could only be used for that purpose.
In 2020, City staff and members of the City Council toured two potential locations for a new City Hall – the Wells Fargo building and the Big M building. Both buildings provided enough space for the City’s current and future needs, but the Big M building would need so much repair and renovation to fit the City’s needs that it would have been financially irresponsible to purchase it. The total cost for purchase and renovations would likely eclipse more than $30 million.
The Wells Fargo building will also need renovation to make it fit the City’s needs, but the cost is much lower at approximately $12 million.
The second important step happened at the City Council meeting earlier this week when JLG was chosen as the architectural consultant for the project. A selection committee that included four City staff members and Council President Lisa Olson conducted interviews with three firms, ultimately choosing JLG to perform architectural services for this project. The City will now begin finalizing a contract with JLG.
This project has been in discussion for several years, with talk at various times ranging from expanding the current City Hall to rehabilitating an existing building to constructing an entirely new building. Per our agreement with HUD, the focus has remained on rehabbing an existing building in downtown Minot. Had we opted to expand the current City Hall or construct a new building, the $7.75 million from HUD would not have been available to use. By purchasing the Wells Fargo building, we continue to work within our action plan that we submitted to HUD that ultimately helped the city be awarded $74.3 million.
While the most recent steps are significant, there remains a tremendous amount of work before City employees move into a new facility. In conjunction with JLG, we will conduct a space needs assessment for all departments that will be housed in the new location, and we’ll work with our information technology department to determine the tech needs of the new building. There will be discussions to determine any necessary upgrades the heating and cooling systems, and new handicapped-accessible elevators will need to be designed, among other topics of discussion.
Once all of this information is compiled, JLG architects can begin the process of designing the building, incorporating input from City department heads and employees, the City Manager, City Council members, the IT department, and countless others. Once a design is formally approved, renovation work can begin. But we’re months away from that happening. City Engineer Lance Meyer told the City Council this past week that a tentative timeline would have the new building ready for occupancy in early 2023, although the timeline could change depending on the final design of the building.
The new location will provide a safe site away from any potential flooding for the emergency dispatch center, which is one of the primary goals of this project. The relocation will also help many of our City staff members work more efficiently, and provide proper space for employees who are currently working in cramped quarters at City Hall or in offices in other buildings. The space that will be vacated in the current City Hall will likely be taken over by the Minot Police Department and Municipal Court, which has outgrown its current space. Moving City Hall to downtown Minot will also help with the downtown initiative, another overall goal of the project.
We look forward to taking the next steps in this exciting project. We know there is much work ahead, but we’re pleased that this process has taken major strides forward. It’s been a long time coming.
Sincerely, City Hall.
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