Community Center project managers propose oversight on all 1% projects

ORB team, Tom Wacholz (L)
ORB team, Tom Wacholz (L)

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Tom Wacholz, who heads ORB Management, is the county’s choice to be the construction management team for the community center project. Wacholz said ORB would like to oversee all one percent projects.

Wacholz met with county commissioners Tuesday and will return on Jan. 25 when the county board will discuss approval of ORB’s choice of architect for the new community center. Commissioners and ORB looked at three architecture firms, and it’s the board’s final choice.

At that meeting Wacholz will present a proposal for authorizing ORB to oversee all projects funded with one percent sales tax money. Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he understood that was ORB’s intent, County Attorney Tim Scannell said he had the same understanding. Wacholz briefly explained why one projects manager is a good idea.

Wacholz: The premise being that there is some value in some efficiencies directly related to saving money and time by having a central coordination effort, if you will, which we see some value to, and it doesn’t mean that we have to dictate or run how the Birch Grove project goes or the library or the golf course or whatever might come to light. But, it does mean that we can be a central point of information, because I know at some point in time some of these projects need to be financed, you know, whether it’s bond financing or what have you. I’m sure you don’t want to have to do it 10 times. You want to do it as few times as possible. But, when you look at activities, whether it’s cost-related, schedule-related, consistency in documents, consistency in ideas—there might be an idea that comes up on one project that could be used on another project. There’s just a whole list of things, and if you’re willing and open to a discussion about that, I’d like to have that as part of my agenda next week.


If the board decides to proceed with ORB’s choice of architect, they would be approving Meyer Group of Duluth. It is widely expected Meyer Group will not use Burbach Aquatics as its swimming pool designer. Since the City of Grand Marais is under contract with Burbach and could face a lawsuit if the pool is designed by another firm, Grand Marais could be out of the planning process for a municipal pool.

In any event, the board will make their decision on an architect on Jan. 25. They may also make a decision to include the rest of the one percent projects under ORB’s wing as well.
 


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