Expanding Minds & Spaces

The City of Fergus Falls recently completed a $9.4 million expansion of the public library. The public bid letting of the project occurred in June 2017 and construction began in September of that same year. Comstock Construction of Fergus Falls was awarded the contract.

The Fergus Falls Public Library is a center point of the community. The expansion project increased the accessibility in a variety of ways, further opening the facility to more community members.

The project consisted of an expanded children’s area, improved accessibility throughout, improved technology, and more comfortable and welcoming reading areas. The building expansion occurred in three directions to accommodate the new spaces. The option to expand in three directions was due to the size limitations of the library site.

The expansions were constructed using structural steel framing with steel stud and sheetrock infill walls. This addition, like the existing building, is fully founded on driven steel piles due to the poor soils in the project area. The building sits on over 10,000 feet of steel piling.

The new entrance included a concrete woonerf. A woonerf is a Dutch feature and is described as a “living street.” The living street creates an area where all modes of transportation receive equal priority. These modes include automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians. The woonerf feature required rebuilding and relocating the existing road through the library site. However, the relocation of the streets helped tie the parking lot with the building entrance and the street between, creating a unified space.

With the project architect based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the city wanted a local professional available to represent their interest during the project. Interstate Engineering’s team of professionals was a perfect fit in this role with the Fergus Falls office staff having considerable experience in building construction, utilities, and site improvements along with contract administration.

Additionally, Interstate Engineering and the City of Fergus Falls have a long-standing relationship. The project site was two blocks from the Interstate Engineering office, adding convenience to Interstate Engineering’s project participation. Interstate Engineering was able to provide onsite observation, assistance with redesign when unforeseen conditions occurred, advise the city when contract administration questions arose, and help ensure any issues and questions were addressed.

Early during the construction, the City of Fergus Falls was awarded a $1 million Library Construction Grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. This grant required that all contractors comply with Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage Law. To comply with this requirement, Interstate Engineering was hired to review contractor’s certified payroll reports for compliance with the prevailing wage law something with which Interstate Engineering has years of experience. Interstate Engineering’s combination of professionalism and variety of experiences in the construction industry made us the perfect firm to assist the City of Fergus Falls to ensure that this new facility will be an asset to the community and serve the people for years to come.