Out of eight that respond to RFP, Olson recommends firms out of Moorhead and Grand Forks

    The Crookston School District’s pursuit of a new bus garage facility to replace the current century-old building near downtown continues to progress, with Superintendent Jeremy Olson, some school board members and other stakeholders set to interview potential architectural firms who have bid on the project. The interviews could take place this week.

    Of the eight firms that responded to the district’s request for proposals, Olson is recommending that two firms, YHR Partners of Moorhead and ICON Architectural Group of Grand Forks, be interviewed. If, after the interviews, it’s determined that neither firm is an ideal fit for the job, Olson said the option will remain to return to the half-dozen other firms that responded to the RFP. The superintendent, at the board’s request, had gone through all of the architects’ proposals and whittled down to the ones he felt would be best to interview.

    “If we’re not happy (with the interviews), we can always go back to the other responses, but I didn’t want to interview all eight because it’s too time intensive for the school board,” Olson said. Although YHR and ICON each submitted all of the written documentation required as part of the RFP, he said it “will be nice to have a conversation with them and establish some goals and our aims for the project.”

    In a somewhat unique facet of the RFP, the district is seeking an architect to work on a fixed-rate contract, meaning that if the bus garage budget increases through various change orders or other circumstances, the fee paid to the architect will not, in turn, increase. Olson said his goal in that regard was to remove any financial incentive for an architectural firm involving an increased project budget.

    School district voters in the spring of 2017 soundly rejected a ballot initiative to construct a new bus garage on Highland School property. One of the biggest complaints of those who voted against involved what they thought was an overpriced facility designed and put forth by the architectural firm.