A construction manager has been hired to oversee an estimated $8 million Becker County Highway Department headquarters on North Tower Road.

Becker County Board of Commissioners Tuesday hired the Roseville-based McGough, one of three firms to submit quotes for the job. The company won out in part because commissioners are pleased with the construction company’s work on the new jail.

McGough submitted the middle quote of $705,696, which includes a 2.15% fee ($172,000) for construction management services and $332,696 for general conditions, which include a senior project manager, a project manager, a project engineer, a project site superintendent, a project coordinator, a project assistant, and safety and accounting services.

Other expenses include reimbursables, insurance and bonds. The project is estimated to take one year.

The low quote of $676,660 was submitted by Contegrity Group of Little Falls, and the high quote of $729,765 was submitted by Kraus-Anderson Construction of Minneapolis.

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Commissioners are looking for some quick information on the cost of putting up one large building compared to the cost of two smaller buildings: a main shop and office building and a separate heated garage.

They need the construction manager to run the numbers, look at the options and provide cost estimates within a few weeks. During interviews with the county board, teams from both McGough and Kraus-Anderson made it clear the larger companies had the capacity to provide that information quickly.

That wasn’t made clear by Contegrity Group, which is well-qualified overall, but is a smaller company with fewer resources, Becker County Commissioner Barry Nelson said at the meeting.

“Contegrity has done a fair amount of work in outstate Minnesota. They did a Douglas County project (about 10 years ago) which is similar in size to ours,” Nelson said. “Kraus-Anderson has the longest history -- they’ve done a lot of similar work,” he said.

“McGough is a strong organization with detail-oriented staff. They also have a history with us with the jail. They’ve done well on that, and want to continue working with us.”

After a lengthy discussion, the commissioners decided to go with McGough, though at one point Commissioner Ben Grimsley asked if a project this size needed a construction manager-at-risk instead.

“On the jail, for sure, we needed one, but we may just want to bid out this project,” he said.

“A construction manager adds some costs,” said Highway Engineer Jim Olson.

But having someone on site watching costs will likely pay off. It has in the past, said Commissioner Larry Knutson. “I think McGough would work harder to get local contractors, and get money to stay in the community,” he added.

“We’ve developed a pretty good relationship with them on the jail,” said Commissioner John Okeson. “If you have a construction manager involved from the beginning, you eliminate some change orders and keep costs down.”

“This relationship you guys have with them (McGough) weighs a lot with me,” said Commissioner Don Skarie.

Commissioners also decided to negotiate the purchase of city-owned land on North Tower Road next to the site planned for the new Detroit Lakes Public Works facility. The city and county facilities will share a fuel station, but otherwise build and maintain separate facilities.

The city in 2017 offered the site to the county for $187,500, including land and special assessments. The county declined the offer and decided to explore other options.

But the 11-acre city site offers more room and flexibility than the 7.5-acre triangular site (between the new jail and Highway 59) where the county had considered building its new Highway Department facility -- extra space that will be especially needed if the county board goes with a two-building facility, Okeson said.

Soil boring tests will be conducted on the city property prior to purchase to ensure the land is suitable for building.