August 12, 2014

City approves hiring construction manager for new Events Center

By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer

After plans of the City of Watford City building an Events Center emerged a couple of months ago, talk about the project went off the radar. People in the community are talking and they have many questions. Is it going to be built? When is it going to be built? And how does the city plan on paying for this multi-million dollar facility?
Originally, the cost of the Events Center was projected to be roughly $50 million. Now, the project cost has increased and fluctuates by $10 to $15 million, according to city council members.
At this point, there is no Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the project, according to Watford City City Attorney Wyatt Voll.
“By the October meeting, we will know the GMP,” Voll said. “There are people asking how are we paying for it and we don’t have that answer.”
Originally, the goal was to be constructing this building parallel to the construction of the new Watford City High School - as the plan is for both to be located on the same site within the Fox Hills Subdivision. However, that doesn’t look like it’s happening - considering the high school is much more advanced in its planning and financial plan.
On a positive note, the Watford City City Council did approve the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) Contract last week to Kraus-Anderson.
Voll said he is comfortable moving forward with the CMAR Contract, because if they don’t do it soon, it will effect the plans to build at the same time as the new high school.
The city would like to approach the Roughrider Committee for help with the project. But in order to receive a grant from the Roughrider Fund, a financial plan needs to be submitted with the application.
“We need to come up with an operating plan,” Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford said. “Maybe we can present what we’ve got to the Roughrider Committee in September.”
He said they have all of the pieces rolling together over the next month or so.
“We could put together a funding model,” Moen said. “But it would be missing funding amounts and the providers.”
Sanford said that the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) Committee is urging the city to get a professional document put together for the Roughrider Fund stating the plans and funding options.
“We’ve got beautiful building designs,” Sanford said. “But we need to hire someone to get this all on paper. We wish this would have happened in February, but it didn’t. It is what it is.”
Maybe in the next couple of months, the plans and funding for the Events Center will come together. Until then, it’s a waiting game.