Madison hires designArc for building renovations

EAST RIVER Electric Power Cooperative currently owns and occupies the substation maintenance building pictured here, which is located along S. Highland Ave. in Madison. The electric cooperative plans to move out of the building later in 2018, and the city electric utility is planning to move into the building. Earlier this week, city commissioners approved a proposal to have architects redesign part of the building for the city's Electric Department

By Chuck Clement, Staff Reporter, courtesy of Madison Daily Leader

City commissioners approved hiring a Brookings-based architectural firm to redesign part of the building along Highland Ave. that the Madison Electric Department plans to use as its new base.

The Madison City Commission reviewed a design-services proposal submitted by designArc that would have the Brookings architects provide a complete architectural, mechanical and electrical design package for $25,800. The architects would also provide contract-bidding and construction-administration services and cost estimates for the renovation work after completing the design.

In a letter to Brad Lawrence, Madison's utility director, Les Rowland of designArc stated that the architects would "...provide complete construction bid documents (drawings and specifications) for the renovation of (plus or minus) 50 lineal feet of the existing building (on the east end) to house your new offices."

Lawrence said he had obtained architectural proposals from two firms which provided estimates that were close in costs. According to Lawrence, the Highland Ave. building needs more office space, changes to the floor plan, and restrooms that are ADA-compliant.

City commissioners approved purchasing East River Electric's substation maintenance building on Highland Ave. last fall. Madison officials had learned the electric cooperative was moving its staff and equipment out of the building and moving them to a new facility on the west side of Madison south of SD-34.

East River Electric agreed to sell the building, which offers 20,500 square feet of interior space and five acres of accompanying land, after the cooperative and city decided the real estate was worth $850,000. Mayor Roy Lindsay had said the current headquarters for the Madison Electric Department -- located along Union Ave. -- doesn't provide enough interior space to adequately house city maintenance vehicles or provide enough storage room for supplies such as electrical wire.

Commissioner Mike Waldner asked Lawrence if city officials could rename the substation-maintenance building so Madison residents wouldn't think that the city was paying for East River Electric's remodeling work. Lawrence said that a renaming was difficult.

"Technically, it's still theirs," Lawrence said.

When the purchase of East River's building was approved in 2017, Lawrence said he anticipated that the Electric Department staff could start moving into the building during fall of 2018. However, the electric cooperative currently occupies the facility located just south of the city's public works offices on S. Highland Ave. East River Electric still needs to construct a new maintenance building on the south side of SD-34.

Commissioner Bob Thill questioned the expense of the architectural work, saying an architect had charged less for a recent review of City Hall. Lawrence told the commissioners, "In order to meet state law (requirements), we have to have an architect."

According to Lawrence, the substation maintenance building is a steel structure that should remain viable for a lifetime. East River Electric had originally purchased the Highland Ave. property in 1981. Lawrence told the commissioners he expected to have the municipal Electric Department housed in the building for another 90 years.

"It's a pretty decent building to start with," Lawrence told the commissioners.

City commissioners approved hiring a Brookings-based architectural firm to redesign part of the building along Highland Ave. that the Madison Electric Department plans to use as its new base.

The Madison City Commission reviewed a design-services proposal submitted by designArc that would have the Brookings architects provide a complete architectural, mechanical and electrical design package for $25,800. The architects would also provide contract-bidding and construction-administration services and cost estimates for the renovation work after completing the design.

In a letter to Brad Lawrence, Madison's utility director, Les Rowland of designArc stated that the architects would "...provide complete construction bid documents (drawings and specifications) for the renovation of (plus or minus) 50 lineal feet of the existing building (on the east end) to house your new offices."

Lawrence said he had obtained architectural proposals from two firms which provided estimates that were close in costs. According to Lawrence, the Highland Ave. building needs more office space, changes to the floor plan, and restrooms that are ADA-compliant.

City commissioners approved purchasing East River Electric's substation maintenance building on Highland Ave. last fall. Madison officials had learned the electric cooperative was moving its staff and equipment out of the building and moving them to a new facility on the west side of Madison south of SD-34.

East River Electric agreed to sell the building, which offers 20,500 square feet of interior space and five acres of accompanying land, after the cooperative and city decided the real estate was worth $850,000. Mayor Roy Lindsay had said the current headquarters for the Madison Electric Department -- located along Union Ave. -- doesn't provide enough interior space to adequately house city maintenance vehicles or provide enough storage room for supplies such as electrical wire.

Commissioner Mike Waldner asked Lawrence if city officials could rename the substation-maintenance building so Madison residents wouldn't think that the city was paying for East River Electric's remodeling work. Lawrence said that a renaming was difficult.

"Technically, it's still theirs," Lawrence said.

When the purchase of East River's building was approved in 2017, Lawrence said he anticipated that the Electric Department staff could start moving into the building during fall of 2018. However, the electric cooperative currently occupies the facility located just south of the city's public works offices on S. Highland Ave. East River Electric still needs to construct a new maintenance building on the south side of SD-34.

Commissioner Bob Thill questioned the expense of the architectural work, saying an architect had charged less for a recent review of City Hall. Lawrence told the commissioners, "In order to meet state law (requirements), we have to have an architect."

According to Lawrence, the substation maintenance building is a steel structure that should remain viable for a lifetime. East River Electric had originally purchased the Highland Ave. property in 1981. Lawrence told the commissioners he expected to have the municipal Electric Department housed in the building for another 90 years.

"It's a pretty decent building to start with," Lawrence told the commissioners.

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