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Bemidji Regional Event Center foundation being set; meeting offers update on project

Clinton Gronhovd, the project manager for the Bemidji Regional Event Center through Kraus-Anderson Construction, shows where the detour will be once First Street East is closed in the coming weeks. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

The foundation of the Bemidji Regional Event Center is literally being set.

Kraus-Anderson and city of Bemidji representatives Thursday evening hosted a meeting at City Hall to offer an update on the project to interested members of the pubic.

"This is the first of what we hope will be ... monthly meetings," said City Manager John Chattin.

The BREC is expected to open Oct. 4, 2010.

Information presented ranged from a construction update to current and upcoming road closures, to soil contamination, to land use.

At the BREC site now, workers are pouring the footings and foundation walls for the facility, said Clinton Gronhovd, the project manager through Kraus-Anderson. Also, utility work is being done.

Structural steel for the walls of the building is expected to arrive on site June 15.

"You're going to start seeing changes on the site in the near future," Gronhovd said.

Area residents and lake users will be affected by existing and forthcoming road closures.

Nymore Road, the road adjacent to the Hampton Inn & Suites that leads to Nymore Beach, is now closed. Gronhovd said that road will re-open Aug. 21.

First Street will be closed in the coming weeks, once the permits are obtained, in order to allow infrastructure work and the addition of turn lanes.

The detour route will involve Lake Street and Roosevelt Road Southeast.

First Street, once complete, will be a four-lane road from Highway 197 to Gould Avenue Southeast, city representatives said.

Greg Judge, the project superintendent, discussed soil contamination that has been found. Several sites were identified that had contamination due to fuel, and that soil has been removed and is planned to be used underneath the parking lot, thus being sealed off by asphalt.

"So far we have nothing that has exceeded state guidelines," Judge said.

"We're guessing our environmental concerns will be under budget," Chattin added later in the meeting.

Several of the 20-some individuals who attended the meeting had questions regarding Nymore Beach, which is included in 2.14 acres that is now set to be sold to The Edgewater Group.

Chattin explained that the city has always planned to have a new, enhanced Nymore Beach further east along the shore as part of the larger south shore redevelopment.

The agreement between the city and The Edgewater Group stipulates that Nymore Beach must be kept open to the public for five years or until the new beach is constructed.

"Certainly it is our goal and hope to have the new Nymore Beach open long before then," Chattin said.

Rita Albrecht, the city's community development director, pointed out that the boat landing will be improved to have 32 or 36 drive-through parking spots for vehicles and their trailers.

Additionally, the landing will be designed to better accommodate the drive-in and drive-out traffic at the boat landing, she said.

"It'll be a much better facility than what you have now," Chattin said.

When asked about the energy efficiency of the BREC, Judge said geothermal drills are creating 120 points 200 feet deep that will add the efficiency of the facility.

Chattin added that the building, because there are state funds involved, is required to meet "B3" requirements, which state that it is must be at least 30 percent more efficient than what typically would be constructed.

If the city wanted to spend the money, which it has not expressed a desire to do so, the BREC would be eligible to be certified as having a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Chattin said.

"This is an extremely efficient building," Chattin said.

Public opportunities

Chattin said site tours will be available for the interested public at 5:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

"(You can) get a feel of what's going on up there," he said.

Also, one attendee had Albrecht taking notes when he asked if there would be any opportunities for volunteers to help on site.

Chattin said Kraus-Anderson would need to be consulted prior to any decision - but Albrecht seemed interested.

"I'll write that one down, because I kind of like it," she said.