County awards bid to oversee work on government center

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners accepted the lowest of two bids received for professional services to design and provide construction management on an estimated $870,000 project on the Government Center in downtown Worthington during t...

WORTHINGTON - Nobles County commissioners accepted the lowest of two bids received for professional services to design and provide construction management on an estimated $870,000 project on the Government Center in downtown Worthington during their meeting Tuesday.

Falls Architectural Studio, Sioux Falls, S.D., bid $25,000 to do the design services and construction management on the project, which will address water infiltration issues around the entire building. The Government Center has long had issues with water seepage and mold development on walls in the stairwell tower closest to 10th Street, as well as lower level offices on the 10th Street side.

County Administrator Tom Johnson said the $870,000 estimate came from a contractor who worked last fall on the Ninth Street entrance to the building.

Commissioner Justin Ahlers asked if it would be any cheaper to have the county engineer or his staff do the work in-house.

“We don’t have the equipment and we don’t have the time,” said Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder. “We can do the surveying and engineering, we just don’t have the time to have someone doing (the work).”


Ahlers then asked if commissioners could put the project off for a year. Johnson responded that the front of the building has to be addressed this year.

Commissioners accepted the $25,000 bid and awarded the contract to Falls Architectural Studio, while also allowing up to $25,000 to Stockwell Engineers Inc., for full site survey work.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved Nobles Home Initiative five-year tax abatement requests from Gregory and Lesli Kramer to construct a new home in the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 13, Grand Prairie Township; and for Larry Davis to construct two new single-family homes in the Davis Addition on North Grand Avenue in Worthington.
  • Presented the April Excellence in Performance award to Jane Feller, public health nurse in Nobles County Community Services.
  • Approved hiring Houston Engineering Inc. as a consultant to assist with the One Watershed, One Plan project. Nobles County is the fiscal agent for the multi-county project. The cost for services is $186,634; it’s anticipated to be covered by state funds.
  • Approved conditional use permits for Beeck’s Gravel and Excavating, Fulda, to operate a gravel pit on land owned by L.F. and Sharon Bergh in Section 30, Graham Lakes Township; Seth Darling, Worthington, for construction of a 488- by 70-foot calf barn in Section 2, Indian Lake Township; and Roger Tweet, Leota, to terminate two existing conditional use permits on his property and replace with one conditional use permit.
  • Proclaimed May 7-13 as Correctional Officer and Employee Week to recognize correctional officers working in the Nobles County Jail.
  • Approved a parade permit for the city of Ellsworth, including closure of County State Aid Highways 11 and 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 17, for its Family Fun Days parade.
  • Revised an ordinance relating to membership on the county’s Park Board. Due to difficulties in finding individuals to serve on the park board, commissioners authorized filling vacancies with at-large positions when volunteers from open districts cannot be found.

Commissioner Donald Linssen said the board has had difficulty handling business items because of a lack of a quorum at meetings.

  • Learned railroad ties along the Minnesota Southern Railway will be picked up and transported to an EPA-approved landfill near Spirit Lake, Iowa. The deadline to have the ties picked up is Oct. 31.
  • Received updates on University of Minnesota-Extension Nobles County’s SNAP-Ed and financial literacy programs.
  • Received the 2016 annual report from Heron Lake Watershed District Administrator Jan Voit detailing some of the 13 grant projects and two low-interest loan programs implemented last year.
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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