The Polk County Board of Commissioners met earlier this week on Tuesday morning inside the Polk County Government Center. One item on the agenda was an update on the Red River Valley Juvenile Center remodeling project. The board heard from Richard Langlois of Facilities and Icon Architectural Group member Todd Blixt as he gave a presentation.

The project will remodel the non-secure side of the building after a rainstorm while the roof was being repaired made the non-secure side of the building inoperable.

Blixt began his presentation by reviewing the floor plan with the board and said it’s very similar to the current floor plan. “It’s very similar to what they had before beginning this process of remodeling it,” said Blixt. “There are a few modifications to help out with sightlines for the staff and things like that, but it’s very similar.”

Blixt also said a few new items that will be installed in the Juvenile Center during the project is a new chiller and a few air handling units. “Once we started going through and looking at the facility as a whole, we realized some of these units were getting close to reaching the end of their life expectancy,” said Blixt. “The building is pushing 35-40 years old, and since half the building is wide open, we thought it would be a good time to replace these units.”

Blixt was also seeking the board’s approval on moving forward with the bidding process now that the floor plan is in place. The board approved the request, and the project will now start to ramp up. Blixt talked about the timeline moving forward. “The drawings are pretty much wrapped up; it’s just a matter of putting the drawings out for bids now,” said Blixt. “The bidding process takes three weeks, so if we start that process now, we would be wrapping it up near Christmas and New Year’s, which isn’t optimal. So will wait a few weeks and at the start of the New Year will begin the bidding process, and it will work better for everyone involved.”

Full completion of the project is currently estimated to finish sometime in August of 2022, however, Blixt said because of the unknowns with materials, he can’t guarantee a hard completion date, and it could be December of 2022 before staff is moved back into the facility.

Polk County Assistant Facilities Director Richard Langlois has been working closely with ICON Architectural Group on the project plan. He is hopeful that the project will be a big success. “I got with Todd, and they’ve come up with some excellent ideas and an excellent floor plan,” said Langlois. “They’ve been great to work with and will continue to work closely together through the project. Will make sure everyone who needs to be involved is aware, and we’re hoping it will be a great project.”

ICON Architectural Group has estimated the total cost of the project at $1.1 million. This can and will change as building and material costs go up. Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting said he would recommend using a type of bond for payment on the project. “Not only do we need to address the damage that was done, but if we’re going to be in their working on it, we might as well upgrade the facility so it will last 40-45 years without having to re-upgrade it,” said Whiting. “With what the project is going to cost, I am recommending that we use some bonds to help pay for it. We will probably have a plan in place sometime after December to come up with a low-interest bond to pay for the work and pay it back over time.”

The Tri-County Community Corrections Board voted to temporarily close the Juvenile Center back in September. Upon completion of the project, the Juvenile Center will be fully back open and operating.