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Bemidji City Council: Events center bids OK'd

With the exception of one, the Bemidji City Council has approved the latest bids for the Bemidji regional events center.

The council voted to support the recommendations from project manager Kraus-Anderson but chose to delay awarding the bid for the painting work.

The council vote was 6-1 to award the bids; Councilor Barb Meuers was opposed.

Six bids were received for the painting work - the lowest was from Jari Pederson & Sons Inc. of Grand Forks, N.D., for $298,000. The bid was $122,850 less than the second lowest bidder, Davis Drywall Inc. The construction estimate for the work was $585,680.

Jerry Spangler, a retired painting contractor, questioned the validity of the bid during a public comment period and asked the council to consider delaying a decision.

City Attorney Al Felix said the council was within its rights to not award the bid to the lowest bidder, but would have to provide documentation backing its decision.

Noting that painting work also is not immediately needed, the council decided to not award the painting bid and directed Clinton Gronhovd, the project manager through Kraus-Anderson, to compile any pertinent documentation by the end of the week.

The latest events center bids were opened Feb. 19 and were compiled and tabulated by Kraus-Anderson.

The companies awarded bids include four Bemidji businesses. Three sets of bids were rejected and six other sets are pending or under review.

City Manager John Chattin said the bids that are pending are on hold because the city has an application in for a potential federal grant.

Combined, the bids came in about $12.3 million under construction estimates.

The following bids were approved:

-- Building concrete to Bruce's Contracting of Backus for $1,586,600.

-- Interior and exterior masonry to Con's Masonry of Bemidji for a combined bid of $1,811,050.

-- Architectural woodwork materials to Northern Woodwork Inc. of Thief River Falls for $228,128.

-- Fireproofing and drywall to Custom Drywall Inc. of St. Paul for a combined bid of $2,688,800.

-- Joint sealants to Sunrise Specialty Contracting Inc. of Big Lake, Minn., for $110,640.

-- Door and frames materials to Kendall Doors & Hardware of Mendota Heights, Minn., for $263,779.

-- Coiling doors to St. Cloud Overhead Door of Waite Park, Minn., for $90,645.

-- Aluminum and glass to Capital City Glass of Blaine, Minn., for $727,513.

-- Acoustical to Central Minnesota Ceiling Inc. of St. Joseph, Minn., for $193,100.

-- Flooring to MCI Inc. of Waite Park, Minn., for $380,685.

-- Terrazzo flooring to Advanced Terrazzo & Tile Co. Inc. of Coon Rapids, Minn., for $239,800.

-- Operable partitions to Hufcor Minnesota of Golden Valley, Minn., for $124,748.

-- Specialties material to J.S. Cates Construction Co. Inc. of Hamel, Minn., for $374,000.

-- Dock equipment to PS Doors of Grand Forks, N.D., for $45,100.

-- Food service equipment to Dakota Food Equipment of Fargo, N.D., for $407,388.96.

-- Ice rink to Commercial Refrigeration Systems Inc. of Virginia, Minn., for $942,544.

-- Elevators to Schindler Elevator Corporation of Bemidji for $197,500.

-- Fire protection to Brothers Fire Protection of St. Cloud for $259,555.

-- Plumbing to Knapp Grover Inc. of Park Rapids for $1,365,000.

-- HVAC work to Peterson Sheet Metal of Bemidji for $3,930,000.

-- Electrical to API Electric Company of Duluth, Minn., for $4,486,000.

-- Landscaping to Peterson Companies Inc. of Chisago City, Minn., for $494,837.

Four bids previously were awarded by the City Council Feb. 16.

Budget reduction

The council voted unanimously in support of a proposal from Chattin in which the project budget for the events center would be reduced by $10 million.

"It certainly would make me rest easier and the council rest easier," he said.

Chattin said the bids are $12 million under budget and it would be "prudent" to deduct $10 million from the budget because of those savings. About $2 million would be added to existing contingencies.

Chattin said the budget reduction would decrease the money needed to be recovered through anticipated land sales and tax-increment financing.

"Given the current financial situation ... it's just a more conservative approach," he said.