Rain muddies City Center construction

A mound of dirt sits on the east edge of the Forest Lake City Center construction site. The building sits in the background. (Photos by Clint Riese)

A mound of dirt sits on the east edge of the Forest Lake City Center construction site. The building sits in the background. (Photos by Clint Riese)

Project still on track for mid-October completion

Clint Riese
News Editor

Relentless rainfall has delayed some work at the Forest Lake City Center site, but construction of the public safety and city hall facility remains on pace for a mid-October finish.

A bulldozer gets stuck in the mud last month at the City Center construction site. (Photo submitted)

A bulldozer gets stuck in the mud last month at the City Center construction site. (Photo submitted)

Site work such as below-grade utility installation and parking lot grading was to begin this week, assuming dry enough conditions. That assumption has not been safe this month, as a record amount of rain has already fallen. Going back to Jan. 1, this year is off to the wettest start in the Twin Cities since 1871.

“Mother Nature has not been too cooperative here the last couple of weeks,” said Brian Hook of Kraus-Anderson Construction, who took the project’s reins in early May after the former project manager left the company.

Work has been limited to inside the building’s frame. Concrete slabs have been poured in the Police Department’s space. That work is scheduled in the Fire Department’s area this week and will finish in the city administration area. Second-floor interior walls and partitions are going up, and painting should be finished by the end of the month.

On the exterior, all walls are up and the roof is on. Brickwork is continuing over the blue waterproof membrane that has been visible to passersby on Lake Street. Some glass is in, but larger openings will be filled in July.

The site will buzz with up to 60 workers once dry weather takes hold, Hook said. Site work involving everything outside of the building’s frame will be done in five “mini-phases” from south to north. Phasing the work will limit the area dug up and exposed to rain at one time, and maintain as much access to adjacent businesses as possible while most of the former Northland Mall parking lot is torn up and resurfaced.

Construction is more than 65 percent complete overall, Hook said. Only the site work is lagging behind.

“We’d like to be further, but with the rain, that just hasn’t occurred,” Hook said. “We’re not in panic mode yet.”

The building will house the police and fire departments, as well as Forest Lake’s city hall. The project remains under budget.

The building will house the police and fire departments, as well as Forest Lake’s city hall. The project remains under budget.

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