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Wright County News

Posted on: January 21, 2020

Commissioner Debunks Rumor Concerning Government Center Construction

There is plenty of business that comes before the Wright County Board of Commissioners during its weekly meetings, but at its Jan. 21 meeting, the board had an unusual topic of conversation – quelling a rumor that the county was looking to expand to add a fourth floor to its new Government Center project.

Commissioner Darek Vetch said he has been asked about the rumor on different occasions and wanted to be sure residents are aware that there is no truth to the suggestion of expanding the project before it continues to gain credence as being factual. What has changed is that a redesign of the third floor was discussed and approved, not the addition of a fourth floor to the project.

“I’m not sure how this rumor got out there, but we are not adding a fourth floor to the new Government Center,” Vetsch said. “What we decided to do was redesign the third floor, which was designed to have additional space that wouldn’t be used immediately. The plan was to have it there as an unfinished shell and revisit it to complete it if and when we need it 15 or 20 years down the line to potentially expand or relocate a department or to fill space needs we may have in the future.”

Where some of the conflicting reports may have arisen was after the bids received for the project were so competitive – more than 150 people attended the bid conference, which is a huge number – and, when the final bids were tabulated, they came in more than $6 million under pre-bid estimates.

At that time, it was determined that it would be in the county’s best interest to finish off the approximately 15,000 square feet of space that won’t be used when the Government Center opens and widen the space earmarked for the Information Technology Department. The redesigned area will have all of the required connections to the rest of the building and would be prepared for occupancy, but won’t have furniture, cubicles or carpeting until they are necessary. The purpose of finishing off the area was to avoid having a small in-house remodel project 20 years down the line that would surely be considerably more expensive than adding some costs to the initial construction phase and having that portion of the project done with and ready to go when needed.

The driving force behind making the change in the early construction phase was that the third floor of the new Government Center is going to house Administration and Information Technology. When the project was being scoped out internally addressing future needs, room was left for just four new office spaces in IT – a number that will likely be met in five years or less, much less 15 or 20 years. The purpose of the redesign was to assure enough IT space for years to come.

As it pertains to the rumor that the redesign of the third floor morphed into speculation that a fourth floor was being added, Vetsch said he remains unclear how that came about in the first place, but that there is no truth to it.

“Rumors are what they are,” Vetsch said. “They can take on a life of their own. They’re not always based on facts. My first thought was that, because there is a basement to the building that technically there are four floors – three above ground and one underground. But, I’ve kept hearing that Wright County has added a floor to the Government Center, which simply isn’t true.”












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