Civic Campus

An aerial view of the new Fridley Civic Campus located on University Avenue.

After nearly five years of analysis, resident involvement, preliminary design and construction, the new Fridley Civic Campus is rounding the corner to completion.

“It feels like we have made all of the right choices,” said Fridley Development Director Scott Hickok.  “We have really enjoyed having McGough Construction Co. be our construction manager on this project. They are very, very good at what they do. BKV Group architects did a very nice job by designing the building and everyone has been very complimentary.”

Public Works building

The public works portion of the project is expected to be completed in May with workers moving into that space in June.  

“Right now they are doing a lot of the finishing work like tile and painting,” Hickok said.  

Other features including the elevator, curtain wall glass and metal panels on the exterior of the public works building will be completed in April.

Police, fire, city hall building

The police, fire and city hall portion of the project is expected to be completed in September with workers moving into that space in November.  

The exterior wall framing of the building was completed in late February. According to Hickok, the brick and stone exteriors are now being applied and will be completed by May. 15 and the curtain wall windows in this portion of the project will all be installed by the end of March.

Civic Campus

(Sun Focus Photo by Sam Lenhart)

The new Fridley Civic Campus is located on University Avenue on the former Columbia Arena site.

“We have bird-safe glass in all of the large expanses,” Hickok said. “There have been lots of interesting studies about how birds read large expanses of glass and we will have the same glass that recently went in the new Bell Museum down at the University of Minnesota.”

The bird-safe glass used on the Fridley Civic Campus buildings was specially designed with horizontal stripes to make it a visible obstacle to birds.

Although the roof is largely on and in place, the recent extremely cold temperatures have had an impact on being able to finish the roof on the police, fire and city Hall building.

Another challenge with the construction of the civic campus was the relocation of a cell tower.

“That was something that years ago, had we known we were going to buy the arena site and have a new layout for our civic campus, we probably would not have entered into that lease agreement where the tower was,” Hickok said.

One of the reasons this was challenging was because residents have come to count on the coverage in that area and when a cell tower is taken down, cellular reception is lost.

“To get the building we needed for public works, that tower had to come down,” said Hickok.

Until a new cell tower can be permanently placed, a temporary “Cell on Wheels” tower has been placed on location.

Financial impact and additions

During the Feb. 12 meeting, the Fridley City Council approved an increase to the guaranteed maximum price by $531,723. However, even with this increase, the project is still under budget.

Previously, the council approved an initial GMP of $25.56 million. Alternates that were originally cut out to save costs were added back in. The funds to pay for them could come out of contingency and savings.

Currently, the contingency line item for the project is $1.11 million. Adjustments have been made as the project has moved forward.

Alternates that have been authorized for this project include a fireplace in the gathering room, insulated bird-safe glass, iron-enhanced sand filters, a fuel island canopy, salt storage and a gun range.  

“There really have not been many big surprises in the project and overall the project is going very smoothly,” Hickok said. “In late September the remaining buildings will be turned over to us and then we will have the month of October to fit it with cubicles and stuff like that. We are still on track for that Nov. 1 move in date.”.

In addition to completing the Civic Campus, construction of a parkway and neighboring patio homes commence this spring.

“We hear it all the time from our residents that they want patio homes in Fridley, so we are now able to deliver 26 units,” said Hickok.

The current city hall buildings will be sold once staff is moved onto the new campus.

“They aren’t on the market yet but there is some interest,” said Hickok. “My guess is that it would be redeveloped.”

(SUN FOCUS STAFF PHOTOs by sam lenhart)

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