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FULL STORY: City to convert MC Fitness building into Public Works headquarters

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council on Monday authorized purchase of the former MC Fitness building, as the city intends to convert it into an all-encompassing facility for the city's Public Works department.

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Pictured is the former MC Fitness building on Rowe Avenue. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council on Monday authorized purchase of the former MC Fitness building, as the city intends to convert it into an all-encompassing facility for the city’s Public Works department.

The 38,745-square-foot facility will store all of the department’s vehicles, parts and tools and provide offices for staff members. With the conversion, the Parks & Recreation Department will move out of its First Avenue Southwest location, freeing the building up for other uses.

The city will purchase the building at a cost of $1.08 million, with funds coming from the city’s hospital sale fund. The conversion will cost an estimated $2.27 million, though the council did not approve funding for remodeling costs Monday.

Council members said the total $3.35 million cost is significantly less than building a new public works facility, which typically costs $6 million to $8 million in other cities.

City Administrator Steve Robinson said the remodeling cost could be included in future sales tax projects or the bond levy. He said construction could be held off until the sales tax referendum is passed in November.

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The facility is currently used for practice by soccer, baseball and softball players during cold months.

Also during the meeting, the council tabled a vote on engineering and design services for a new Splash Pad. Councilman Alan Oberloh said the $27,500 cost from Bolton and Menk was too high and asked that other engineering firms be solicited.

“It does seem like a lot for what we’re going to get,” said Councilwoman Amy Ernst.

Council members did approve services from American Engineering and Testing to test soils under the proposed locations for the Splash Pad, 10th Street Pavilion and Beach Nook projects at a cost not to exceed $8,735.

In a separate matter, students from Dynamic 507, an after-school program run through the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, gave a presentation to the council.
Chaltu Uli, Tre’Quan Wright and Aunna Groenewold told the council the city is lacking recreational facilities and activities for high school students, which could cause their peers to turn to unhealthy hobbies. The three suggested the city pursue a movie theater, roller rink, cultural center, mini-mall, arcade or family fun park and more public transportation.

Groenewold said the city needs a free place at which kids could meet. Later in the meeting, Oberloh suggested the Center for Active Living could be utilized as such a location, as it is generally not used during the evening.

In other news, the council:

  • Approved upgrades to the entry doors and key-fob system at the Center for Active Living at a combined cost of $9,034.
  • Approved a change order to the new liquor store project to add additional security keypads, enclose diagonal wall bracings, add a soffit over the electrical conduit, install a light fixture for a lighted building sign, add access openings above the coolers, and remove painting of ceiling mechanical and electrical components.
  • Approved a resolution supporting the appointment of Dr. Randy Simonson as the First  Congressional District representative to the Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) over use of the ArtMobile.
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