Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Design firm selected for joint EMS building

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 2/11/16

TOWER—Officials from the city of Tower and Breitung Township have selected the Virginia-based architectural firm DSGW to design and oversee construction of their planned joint emergency services …

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Design firm selected for joint EMS building

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TOWER—Officials from the city of Tower and Breitung Township have selected the Virginia-based architectural firm DSGW to design and oversee construction of their planned joint emergency services building.

The decision came on a 3-1 vote after the joint city-township committee rejected an initial motion to award the project to SEH.

It’s not clear whether the proposed fees factored into the decision, since the two companies proposed entirely different fee structures. SEH proposed a flat fee of $197,000 plus some reimbursable costs, while DSGW proposed fees based on a percentage of the total project cost. DSGW offered to conduct the architecture, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering for six percent of the construction cost. Site design would be 5.5 percent of the site work cost.

The fee does not include site inspection, soil borings, or surveying, if needed.

At this point, it’s not clear how much it will cost to build the planned 15,000 square-foot building, that will provide housing for the now-merged fire departments, the Breitung Police, and the Tower Ambulance Service. According to DSGW’s proposal, which outlined several similar projects, costs per square foot can vary significantly, from $55 to $200, depending on the project.

While price was one factor, some on the committee did express unhappiness with some past work that SEH had undertaken for the city of Tower. Breitung Supervisor Greg Dostert said he was unhappy with the renovation work done by SEH engineers when the city converted the former Powerain manufacturing facility for the new charter school— and he said that’s why he was backing DSGW for the EMS building.

The future of the project rests primarily on funding. Tower Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said it appears that the IRRRB will contribute up to $250,000, but that significant additional funding will be needed to complete the project. Tower Mayor Josh Carlson urged everyone to contact local legislators and push for additional funding for the project.

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