School board meshed with hockey board Tuesday evening when St. Michael-Albertville school board member Jeff Lindquist updated the board on the latest hockey board meeting, which is homing in on its efforts to build a second sheet of ice onto the Albertville arena.
Paul Youngquist of ARY Architects, who has handled all of the school district’s recent construction projects, gave the hockey board some preliminary design and cost estimates at the latest meeting, which took place on Feb. 7.
His initial estimate came in at $4.9 million, followed by a scaled-back estimate of $3.3 million, which cut such amenities as a two-story atrium entrance with additional concessions, shower facilities, storage and office spaces. It would also cut seating from 800 to 500 spectators. However, a phased proposal could allow for these additional features at some point in the future.
Youngquist’s estimates were compared with rinks recently built by Classic Construction in Princeton and Forest Lake for around $2.4 million, as well as a rink proposal by Ross Construction for $2.1 million. With such a large spread, questions arose regarding the cost discrepancies among the different proposals.
Lindquist said the proposal by Ross Construction was quickly found to be deficient in many ways: the construction methods, quality of the building materials and aesthetic appearance would likely not meet Albertville city approval.
With that proposal out of the running, hockey board members next rooted out the reason for cost discrepancies between Youngquist’s and Classic Construction’s bids. Once they dug into the bids’ specifics, board members found several factors that leveled the bids significantly, Lindquist said.
“The $2.4 million estimate that Classic Construction presented omitted a number of items that would need to be included,” he said, including city-required site improvements such as soil testing, soil correction and exterior improvements to the building to meet Albertville city codes.
Classic Construction's number also did not consider soft costs which include insurance, permitting and sewer and water charges.
“The bottom line is, when you add all those things on to the $2.4 million figure … the two numbers are very close,” Lindquist said.
STMA Youth Hockey Association President Scott Berning said that cost could be lowered if Albertville allowed any variances, such as allowing for prefabricated walls or other ways to build the facility cheaper.
“From a hockey standpoint, we just need ice,” Berning said, noting that children as young as 11 were practicing in St. Cloud until 10:15 p.m. on school nights in order to get ice time. “Obviously we’d like to see a nice arena, but what’s going to serve our purposes for the hockey association is an indoor sheet of ice.”
Other measures that could reduce the approximated $3.3 million price tag include using only one ice resurfacer, purchasing a refurbished ice refrigeration unit and heating and ventilation unit.
With this cost estimate in mind, board members figured the annual debt service for St. Michael and Albertville would come out to be approximately $340,000 per year for a $3.5 million project financed over 20 years.
The school district would be unable to contribute financially to this debt service, they said, without putting it on a levy and asking voters for additional funds for the project.
However, the school board approved a joint resolution, along with the cities of St. Michael and Albertville, as a first step to seeking state assistance for the ice arena expansion via local legislative leaders.
All leaders in the joint power association will meet with Senate majority leader Amy Koch in March to further discuss the issue.