Cities are apparently facing inflation like the rest of us, and it’s evident in the construction of a new building at Round Lake Park.
The Eden Prairie City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 15, approved a bid of $3,001,990 for the construction of a 4,293-square-foot building that will replace the smaller, 40-year-old structure that now exists and serves as restrooms and an ice-rink warming house.
That’s higher than estimates of $2.1 million, $2.5 million, and $2.725 million that have been cited by city staff over the past year or so, although there have also been some changes to the building plan along the way.
The growing cost isn’t a surprise to city officials, and the fact that the three lowest bids were within $106,100 of each other indicates the costs are real and the bidding competitive, said Parks Director Jay Lotthammer.
It’s a common tale in the building industry. There was a sharp increase in construction costs in the Twin Cities between 2020 and 2021. The rate of increase has slowed to about 8.7% in the last year, according to Mortenson Construction, which regularly publishes a construction-cost index for the area. Another firm, JLL Research, put the increase in Minneapolis-area construction costs at 10.5% over the last five years.
A little over $1.8 million of the building’s final construction cost will come from the city’s capital investment fund, which it taps to replace old playground equipment and for similar projects. The other $1.2 million will come from the city’s park improvement fund, which includes parks and recreation fees paid by developers whose projects are approved.
Lotthammer said the city would continue to work with the winning bidder, Parkos Construction Company Inc., on any ideas that would lower the cost of the building but not the quality.
With the new building, the city is seeking to provide new, more usable space that not only includes modern bathrooms but also a community room able to be rented for graduation parties, family reunions, and more. It will be big enough to accommodate 60 to 80 persons.
The new building will also have a number of sustainability features: solar panels atop part of the building; a low-maintenance “green” roof with 6-inch plants on another portion; and a rain garden and other stormwater-management features nearby.
Because the existing building is used as a warming house for nearby outdoor ice skating, construction won’t start until March. The new building will be complete in October, said Lotthammer.
Mayor Ron Case on Tuesday noted the “difficult building environment” that cities, schools, and others are facing. But, he said residents seem to appreciate the building upgrades that have been done at Staring Lake Park and elsewhere. “I think this is really exciting for Round Lake Park,” he said.
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