Council, EDA hire architect for municipal campus

Leo A. Daly picked from field of five


The team from Leo A. Daly assigned to the Forest Lake project have much experience with municipal facilities, including this one in Inver Grove Heights. (Photo submitted)
The team from Leo A. Daly assigned to the Forest Lake project has significant experience designing municipal facilities, including this one in Inver Grove Heights. (Photo submitted)

Clint Riese
News Editor

On the very day a lawsuit was served concerning the City of Forest Lake’s plan to build a municipal campus at the Northland Mall site, city boards marched on with details concerning the $21 million project.

At back-to-back meetings Monday night, the Economic Development Authority and the City Council selected an architect and authorized a request for proposal for construction management services.

Both groups unanimously approved a selection committee’s recommendation to hire the Leo A. Daly firm from a field of five proposals. The city had sent RFPs to 12 firms; eight attended an informational session. Along with Leo A. Daly, Brunton Architects and WOLD Architects and Engineers interviewed before the selection committee.

For Leo A. Daly, the Omaha, Neb. firm, the Forest Lake project came with a stern warning from one council member.

“You all must have made a very, very good presentation to the selection committee, because quite frankly, the proposal is one of the worst I’ve ever read,” said Susan Young, noting typos, broken thoughts and out-of-date references in Leo A. Daly’s 47-page submission.

“You do have a good reputation,” Young continued. “The quality control on this proposal was very, very poor, and I certainly hope that the specifications for the work would be significantly better. This was painful to read.”

The selection committee consisted of City Administrator Aaron Parrish, Police Chief Rick Peterson, Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius and two members of both the EDA and council. The board’s evening of interviews and deliberation lasted until nearly midnight.

Leo A. Daly’s experience proved a key factor. The private practice employs over 1,000 architects and engineers in 30 offices worldwide and has completed work in over 75 countries. The team from the Minneapolis office assigned to the Forest Lake project has combined experience with 37 municipal public safety facilities. The firm’s proposal referenced similar projects team members were affiliated with in Maple Grove, Inver Grove Heights, Ramsey, Edina and Plymouth.

“Really we just liked the portfolio of experiences that the members of the Leo A. Daly team had. Also, their pricing was very competitive,” said Parrish during the EDA meeting. “Those were a couple of the big factors that the group considered. Leo A. Daly really rose above the rest as far as those two items were concerned.”

Leo A. Daly will be compensated $668,000 plus reimbursable expenses. Brunton Architects proposed compensation of $546,000, while WOLD Architects and Engineers proposed a final number of $737,000.

The EDA talked at length about the need for public input and awareness as the design process moves forward. Representatives from Leo A. Daly said several methods could be employed, including open houses and charrettes.

“One thing I liked about the Daly group is they, of all the groups, more stressed that interaction with the public,” said EDA member Blake Roberts, who served on the selection committee.

Mayor Chris Johnson noted that the board members, as well as the public, will have plenty of opportunities to provide input as design elements are brought before the EDA and council.

“The reality is this will come back to this board on a regular basis for checking and approval,” he said during the EDA meeting.

Roberts, Johnson, Parrish and Councilman Mike Freer will join Chief Peterson and Chief Sigfrinius on a building committee that will work in close contact with Leo A. Daly on design elements.

The firm’s proposal included a preliminary timeline calling for the design process to finish in late August. A construction contract would then be awarded, with work starting in October and finishing in May of 2015.


The EDA and council also authorized a request for proposal for construction management services.

Parrish said this delivery method is preferred over a “design-bid-build” model. Bringing a construction manager into the design process from an early point allows for cost estimates at each phase of design, feedback to the architect on constructability, and the potential for cost-saving measures.

The construction manager model also allows for more flexibility in the selection of subcontractors.

“I think we all should do everything we can to make this as much of a local project as we can,” Mayor Johnson said. “To me, this is the mechanism that allows us to do it that way.”

The RFP went out this Tuesday. Proposals are due Feb. 11, with final approval scheduled for Feb. 25.

Bond Proceeds

Finance Director Ellen Paulseth updated the City Council on the results of the bond issuance related to the municipal campus project.

All bonds have sold, and approximately $21 million in proceeds was deposited in a city account at U.S. Bank last week. That number represents the total project cost after payments related to the bond issuance.

A draw of $1.9 million was made to pay for the property, and another $10,000 is being drawn to pay attorney fees relating to the purchase agreement.

The remainder has been invested. Paulseth expects the portfolio to earn 0.8 percent interest.