The Fergus Falls Port Authority approved a bid by Comstock Construction late Tuesday afternoon to oversee the renovation of the former Army Reserve building on First Avenue.
The general contractor, which has offices in Fergus Falls, Fargo and Wahpeton, bid the job at $1,492,000.
According to city records, the estimate for the renovation was $2.26 million.
Comstock’s bid was the only one submitted before last Friday’s deadline.
“This is a good bid, a low bid,” City Administrator Andrew Bremseth said. “It’s great to see a local contractor bidding on this work.”
The city had a tight timeline on the work. Work is expected to begin in July. Completion of the project has been pushed out to December, according to Bremseth.
The renovated building will become a Level IV learning center for Lakes Country Service Co-op. Bremseth told the board that Lakes Country and the city will soon be entering into a leasing agreement on the center. Lakes Country will be repaying the city through lease payments.
Bremseth also told the board that Lakes County has signed an agreement with Otter Tail County on some space on an interim basis from the beginning of the school year until the Dec. 28 completion of the renovation project.
City Engineer Brian Yavarow told the board that Comstock’s performance on the Fergus Falls library project, which came to $7.5 million, was “very satisfactory.”
The Port Authority also approved a recommendation by Steve Eriksson of the Downtown Riverfront Council to enter into an agreement with Braun Intertec. The environmental consulting firm was asked to provide an estimate, not to exceed $2,500, for a community relations plan.
The plan is necessary, according to Port Authority Chair Anthony Hicks, for the city to be eligible for future state funding.
The Port Authority purchased the site on the Otter Tail River last year as part of a plan for a 29-acre development project.
The board also approved the appointment of a Dairy Property Advisory Committee. An addition to the list on Monday night was Annie Deckert, the new executive director of Greater Fergus Falls. Others proposed as members on the committee are Eriksson, Hicks, Yavarow, Bremseth, Chris McConn, Bill Sonmor and Ryan Miller.
The board approved the mission/vision statement of the Port Authority. The purpose of the Port Authority was discussed and Board Member Karoline Gustafson proposed a release that would educate the residents of Fergus Falls.
“Many people in the city of Fergus Falls don’t know there is a Port Authority and on top of it they don’t know what we do, we can do or are capable of doing,” Gustafson said.