School board hires architectural firm, construction manager
The Moose Lake School Board approved hiring an architectural firm and construction manager at a special meeting of the board on Thursday, June 5.
The board members spoke about their tours to the South Ridge school, located near Culver, and Duluth East, both of which were designed by Architectural Resources, Inc. (ARI).
“There were good things about schools that we can use,” said board secretary Lisa Anderson-Reed.
“I fell in love with the gym at South Ridge,” said board member Julie Peterson.
“It was educational,” said Chairwoman Kris Lyons. “We spent quite a bit of time — two hours — at South Ridge, and an hour at Duluth East.”
Superintendent Robert Indihar said he had called a number of places that had ARI as an architectural firm.
“They had good reviews,” he said.
Peterson said she has talked to a number of former clients.
“Make sure you tell them that you don’t want the Taj Mahal,” she said she was told.
The board passed a motion unanimously to hire ARI as its architectural firm, with the contingency that the firm would not charge the school district until the bond referendum passed.
Six representatives from Oscar J. Boldt Construction attended the meeting as the board considered the hiring of a construction manager. Supt. Indihar had recommended Boldt be hired.
Kirk Ilenda, business development manager, headed the presentation about the services of the firm to the board.
He said the firm is a nationwide contractor, based in Wisconsin, and does $700 million in business a year. The firm is celebrating its 125th year in business. There are 30 on staff at the Cloquet site, he added.
“We are a good relationship contractor,” said Ilenda. “We go into lessons learned to help you with your project. We are proud of the development of the Mercy Hospital project. We are proud of our Moose Lake experience and our presence here.”
Ilenda explained that Boldt Construction had been called to restore the Moose Lake School after the flood damaged the building in 2012.
Supt. Indihar added how representatives of the firm helped him deal with the flooded school.
“I was new to the job and didn’t know what I needed to do,” said Supt. Indihar. “Their staff guided me through the process. I can attest that they did everything that they promised that they would do.”
Boldt Construction also built an addition to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program facility.
“That project was one of our biggest successes,” said Shelly Peterson, vice president and general manager of Boldt Construction. “We worked with them to make sure the plan was heading in the right direction, and we worked with them to make sure that it was the right vision model. That can be a scary thing if you don’t do that every day. We set up a communications matrix to meet their expectations.”
Mark Walch, the chief estimator for Boldt Construction’s projects, said he would work closely with the others to figure out the budget, and then refine the figures as the project progresses.
“I’ll be working closely with the board members and the architect,” he said.
There had been a suggestion from board member Tom Paull that the firm be called an "owner’s rep" instead of a "construction manager."
“Owner’s reps are just paper pushers,” said Walch. “A construction manager works with the constructability piece and has construction knowledge to be able to do that. The owner’s rep doesn’t have the ability to do that.”
Walch also explained that Boldt Construction would like to perform 1 percent of the project, such as the foundation work and installing the doors and hardware. The firm would hire subcontractors for the remainder of the project.
The board passed the motion unanimously to hire Boldt Construction to complete the pre-bonding work at no charge to the school district. If the bond referendum passes, the firm would charge and continue as the school district’s construction manager, representing the school district throughout the project.