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School Board awards bid for maintenance facility

The Bemidji School District will once again base its maintenance operations on the Bemidji High School campus.

The Bemidji School Board voted unanimously Monday to award a bid totaling about $1.2 million by Donlar Construction of Waite Park, Minn., to build a new maintenance facility. Donlar Construction's bid was the lowest of nine bids.

With architectural fees and other additional costs, the new 12,000-square foot facility is estimated to cost nearly $1.29 million. It will replace the stone maintenance building currently used by the school district at the old BHS property.

The Bemidji State University Foundation now owns the stone building, but is temporarily leasing it to the school district. In August, the foundation acquired the stone building when it bought nearly 12 acres of the old BHS property. The foundation agreed to lease the lot that includes the stone building to the school district for up to two years to allow the school district to design, build and move into a replacement.

The new maintenance facility will be built adjacent to a baseball field and a softball field southwest of the new high school. A road to the facility will be accessible from Adams Avenue Southwest.

Director of Business Services Chris Leinen said the project will break ground as soon as the ground thaws. The school district, he said, plans to move into the facility before the beginning of school next fall.

"We're looking at substantial completion by July 15," Leinen said.

He said relocating the new facility to the new BHS campus will improve efficiency since the "lion's share" of the school district's maintenance work is generated on the campus.

The facility will include a maintenance shop and utility, carpentry, information technology, storage and shipping and receiving areas, as well as offices, work stations and a meeting room. A road will circle the facility and parking will be available on one side.

The facility will be pre-cast concrete with coloring similar to BHS and the Bemidji Community Arena, which is also located on the BHS campus.

"Aesthetically, it's going to be a pleasing building," said Leinen, adding that it will have "architectural charisma."

He said existing trees will create a buffer between the facility and houses to the west, and yard lights at the facility will be angled so they won't shine at the neighbors.

"We want to be good neighbors," Leinen said.

The bid approved Monday includes a base bid of about $1.08 million and several alternates: a 40-foot-by-80-foot shed, shop racks, office cabinets, floor cover, paint finishing, an entry gate and a dust system.

To pay for the project, the school district plans to use proceeds from the sale of the stone building, construction funds, two-year participation in the annual capital projects budget and a planned spend down of $200,000 out of the capital projects reserved balance of $814,310.