Fridley breaks ground at new Civic Campus site

After nearly three years of analysis, citizen involvement and education and preliminary design, Fridley broke ground May 20 at the new Civic Campus, on the former Columbia Arena site.

Fridley City Council and HRA representatives (from left to right): Stephen Eggert, Jim Safke, Robert Barnette, Mayor Scott Lund, Ann Bolkcom, Dolores Varichak, Pat Gabel. (Photo provided by the City of Fridley)

In 2013, the city identified a trend of increased costs for repair and replacement projects needed to keep the buildings housing police, fire, city hall and public works viable.

After a Nov. 14, 2016, public hearing, the city council approved the financing portion of a civic campus housing the city departments at the former Columbia Arena location and the project took a major leap forward.

In preparation of the new civic campus, the city needs to clear significant portions of the site, including the fire training facilities, the police forfeiture building, and the public works buildings.
During the May 22 meeting, the city council awarded a demolition and site preparation contract of $932,900.00 to Park Construction Company.

The fire training tower was built in 1997 and has an original value of $210,300. This structure is not fully depreciated and city staff analysis anticipates recording a loss on the asset of approximately $49,000. In March, the council dissolved the training agreement with Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Mounds View and Spring Lake Park. The city reached out to those surrounding communities about dismantling the structure and moving it to a new location but that was deemed to costly.

“We went to great lengths to see if there was a repurpose for that building,” said Fridley Finance Director Shelley Peterson.

The police forfeiture building is a pole building that was erected in 2014 and paid for with drug and alcohol forfeiture funds. This structure has not reached full depreciation and staff anticipates recording a loss on the asset of approximately $122,500 in 2017.

Police Chief Brian Weierke reached out to Ameripride, the vendor who built the pole structure, inquiring on the city’s options to avoid the cost of demolition and find a way to repurpose the structure.

Ameripride contacted others in the industry and determined the cost to dismantle and rebuild would exceed the cost of a new structure. The city received two estimates to demolish and remove the materials. The first quote came in at $32,500 from a local recycling vendor, the second quote was from Fridley’s construction manager. McGough Construction, that has agreed to take down the structure at cost of $6,000.

“With pole buildings it is generally cheaper to build new rather than try to pull the sheet metal down and use it again,” said Peterson. “That is another facility we will be dismantling and recycling most of the product.”

The fire training center, impound building, and salt shed will come down immediately.

Fridley City Leaders (from left to right): Councilmember Jim Safke, Councilmember Robert Barnette, State Representative Connie Bernardy, Mayor Scott Lund, Councilmember Ann Bolcolm, Councilmember Dolores Varichak, HRA Commissioner Pat Gable. (Photo provided by the City of Fridley)

The original public works structure was constructed in 1967 with its last expansion in 2003. The structures have a combined acquisition value of $1,321,100. The buildings are not fully depreciated and city staff anticipates recording a loss on the assets of approximately $371,000 in 2017. The demolition of this building will occur in phases to provide the least amount of disruption to current operations.

“Most of the public works buildings will come down next May after the new public works building is ready for our staff to move in,” said Scott Hickock, community development director.
The accounting entry necessary to dispose of these assets is a booked entry. It does not mean the City needs to cover the loss because these assets are paid in full.
Peterson said that city considered selling or donating the buildings but it was determined that they needed to be demolished. Although, some materials from the building will be salvaged for future use.

“Some of the structures haven’t been fully depreciated so we were anticipating having to write a loss off on those properties or buildings,” said Peterson. “In talking further with our auditor, he doesn’t feel that will be necessary based on the useful life remaining on some of these facilities.”

Mayor Scott Lund said he was a little dismayed that some of the structures aren’t reusable but he knows staff worked diligently in trying to repurpose those buildings.

The site is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in November 2018.