BEMIDJI -- While the upcoming Bemidji veterans home project isn’t ready for contractors to bid just yet, county officials say businesses can send in documents detailing their qualifications for the work.

According to a press release from Beltrami County, the Minnesota Department of Administration is requiring contractors go through a qualification process. This is required as the project will include state dollars.

As part of the process, the project management team from Adolfson and Peterson Construction working on the veterans home have sent out a request for qualifications. The release states the request is to evaluate and pre-qualify subcontractors.

Based on the evaluation of the response to the request, successful candidates will then be eligible to submit bid proposals, the release said.

The deadline for submitting the qualifications is 2 p.m. on Jan. 7. Because several exhibits and documents are required as part of the request, the county is encouraging local contractors to begin the process early.

A link to the request for qualifications can be found on the county’s website, Questions can also be directed to County Administrator Kay Mack at (218) 333-4109.

The process for a new veterans home has mostly gone through the county because officials in county offices have largely pushed for the project for more than a decade. In 2018, those efforts paid off when the Legislature approved $32 million for the construction of new veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston. Of that amount $12.4 million was set aside for the Bemidji facility.

The amount was based on the national formula, where veterans homes have 35% of the costs covered by the state and local entities, and the remaining 65% paid for by the federal government. For its share, Beltrami County officials raised $2.3 million from local governments and organizations.

The building will be constructed on the city’s north side on land donated by Sanford Health directly east of the Neilson Place nursing home. The facility will include 72 beds and accommodate residents for short- and long-term stays. The home is expected to open in late 2021 or 2022.