Jan 31, 2023 | By: Mary Balstad

Bemidji City Council Reviews 6 Options for City Hall, Fire Station Renovations

After Bemidji’s City Hall sustained water damage last year and concerns over an aging fire station emerged, the Public Works Committee decided to look at options to repair and possible replace the buildings.

Last night, the city council was presented with different options to expand both locations. But these options did not come without raising concerns over high price tags.

Bemidji city councilors are faced with multi-million dollar repairs and renovations following last spring’s flooding in city hall and aging conditions of the city fire station in downtown Bemidji. After nine months of interviews and planning, Wold Architects and Engineers have come up with six different proposals for the council to consider. The options and their costs include:

  • Remodel and renovate the existing buildings: $23,206,000
  • Combine a new city hall and fire station in existing locations: $26,028,000
  • Combine a new city hall and fire station, with the fire station placed where parking currently is: $26,028,000
  • Combine facilities, move city hall where parking currently is and fire station is adjacent to it: $26,000,000
  • Combine administration offices, fire station is in the same area: $26,000,000
  • Build on a new site, $25,500,000

The first three options would require the purchasing of the First National Bank property. The next two would be built in phases instead of all at once. The last one would need to look at land the city owns or can purchase to build the new structures on.

The costs projected by Wold would not include purchasing of land or temporary relocation of employees. The company also accounted for projected price trends of 2024 and how inflation could affect construction costs.

But with almost all suggestions showing a price of roughly $26 million, some councilors questioned the financial logistics of constructing two buildings. At the end of the meeting, councilors requested to see more options that would separate the two buildings.

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