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DL Utilities Commission OKs $2.2 million bid for new steel building

With a few modifications, the Detroit Lakes Utilities Commission moved forward Tuesday with plans for a new building.

It accepted the low bid of $2.2 million from Tradesmen Construction of Alexandria for the 37,000-square-foot metal building, to be built in the new North Tower Road Industrial Park.

Other bids came from Hammers Construction ($2.33 million), Comstock Construction ($2.34 million) and J.P. Structures ($2.42 million).

The commission decided to save $14,500 by using lighter 29 gauge steel instead of 26 gauge in the building. Structurally, the slightly weaker steel matter. The only difference will be slightly bigger dents when something hits the building, said Utilities Superintendent Curt Punt.

The commission saved another $7,500 by having the utilities department do its own signage.

Another $13,000 will be saved by going without privacy slats in the chain link fence on the property, and another $20,800 will be shaved off the cost by either not fencing along a wetlands to one side or by rerouting planned fencing to cut off a separate triangular wetland area, bringing the fence closer to the building.

The project cost came in higher than expected, about 11 percent higher than 2006 projections, Punt said. The department will float a $2 million municipal bond issue as planned, at about 4.5 percent for 20 years.

"There was probably more site work than anticipated," Punt said. "There are watershed requirements, berming requirements -- $400,000 of this bid is site work."

The department will see if the city is willing to let it move dirt over from a higher adjacent lot, since both lots will have to be leveled eventually and it will save money all the way around, Punt said.

Plans call for $12,000 in new furnishings and $16,000 in land acquisition costs. Costs will be offset by selling the existing utilities building for $352,000.

In all, total cash outlay for the project (including a 10 percent contingency reserve) will be $2,051,000.

The department will look for ways to trim another $50,000 from the project.

There won't be city sewer service at the site for another six or seven years, and a suitable place for a drainfield has not yet been found, so the department will use two 1,600-gallon holding tanks that will have to be pumped every six to eight weeks.

"That will be kind of a hassle," Punt said. "We're looking for a drainfield, but we haven't found a site for one yet."

The utilities commission unanimously approved awarding the bid to Tradesmen.