News Column

Updates to Mayo Civic Center plans add $466,000 to cost

June 19, 2014

By Rachel Leingang, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.

June 19--The Mayo Civic Center expansion/renovation project could be ready to break ground in early 2015, according to the project's architect and civic center staff. New construction should last at least two years, with remodeling taking six months after that, they said.

Costs to update the design plans, which were done in 2010, come in at $367,670 and were approved by the Rochester City Council on Monday. The updates include meeting the city's "Buildings, Benchmarks and Beyond" standards, engineering to meet new storm-water-control guidelines and preparing to put the plans out for bids, according to the city council approval document.

The city council also approved $98,680 for services from the firm Cost, Planning and Management International, of Eagan. These services include preparing contracts, scheduling, budgeting and oversight of initial construction on the building.

After Rochester's nearly eight-year pursuit, the state finally awarded $35 million to Rochester for the civic center expansion in the 2014 bonding bill. The city received planning funds from the state totaling $3.5 million in 2008, which covered the cost of the initial design. The city will be spending up to $50 million for the project, funded by a 3 percent increase in the lodging tax.

"In 2010, we completed the construction drawings ... and were virtually ready to issue for bids," said Steve Sorensen of TSP, the Rochester architectural firm in charge of the civic center project. "We have a large stack of drawings and a lot of pages of specs that we now have to go through and update."

The group expects to finish updates on the plans by the end of September, Sorensen said. The city would seek bids starting in October, ideally, and select a contractor by the end of the year, which is a good time for competitive bids, he said.

Sorensen and Mayo Civic Center Director Donna Drews presented an overview of the design and timeline for the project at the Mayo Civic Center Commission meeting Wednesday.

The expansion would make the civic center capable of holding two 1,000-person conventions at the same time and includes a $3.5 million upgrade to Presentation Hall. The building will have a welcoming, notable arrival space, unlike the current feel the building has, Drews said.

"We have people come into our lobby all the time and say, 'Is this the civic center?'" she said.

The commission decided to recommend including an expanded kitchen as an alternate for the plan, which was approved by the city council in 2010. The commission decided against an escalator for the center, after staff said it would take up space and add annual costs to the budget.

The expanded kitchen would add more than 7,000 square feet near the back of the building by the existing kitchen, which would help take the facility to the next level, Drews said.

"We're not making a decision for the next five years," Drews said. "We're talking about where we want to be in the next 20 years."

"If our cost estimate proves to be accurate, we believe we'll have enough money to do everything in this plan," said Gary Neumann, assistant city administrator. But since the bidding process has a lot of uncertainties, it's tough to know what can be included for sure, he said.

The recommendations will go before the city council at its next meeting on July 7.


Mayo Civic Center expansion/renovation

Timeline: Break ground in early 2015 and be completed in two and a half years.

Cost: $81 million.

Funding: $35 million in state bonding; Rochester plans to spend up to $50 million, if necessary.

Plans include: Expansion to be able to accommodate two 1,000-person conventions simultaneously, and a $3.5 million upgrade to Presentation Hall, the main concert hall.


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Source: Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN)

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