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Colfax review of library proposals on schedule

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — A waiting game was all that remained November 24 to see how many requests for proposals would be returned by the deadline November 28 for a new library, village hall and police station.

Lisa Ludwig, director of the Colfax Public Library, gave an update to the village board about the proposals at the Colfax Village Board’s November 24 meeting.

All together, Ludwig said she had met with representatives from five architectural firms.

Colfax started exploring the possibility of building a new library or a new multipurpose building to house the library, village offices and police department when the village board accepted a space needs assessment for the clerk’s office and the police department in September and also approved sending out requests for proposals.

The request for proposals asked for preliminary cost estimates for four options: a stand-alone library; a single story multi-use facility for the clerk, library and police department; a two-story multi-use facility for the clerk, library and police department; a single-story multi-use facility for the library and police department.

Dairy State Bank has offered to donate the lot west and south of the bank for a new library.

The requests for proposals ask that the four options be considered for the Dairy State Bank lot and also for a separate lot that is not identified but which presumably would not have the configuration of the Dairy State lot.

Ludwig told the village board November 24 that her meetings with architects had lasted between an hour and a half and two hours.

The Colfax Library Board had met the previous week, and library board members wondered how the village board wanted to proceed with reviewing the requests for proposals, Ludwig said.

Scott Gunnufson, village president, suggested that all members of the village board and the library board meet to review the proposals.

If, for example, six RFPs are returned, then both boards can choose the best proposal for each of the scenarios (stand-alone library; multi-use building; single story; two story), he said.

Ludwig said she has received a number of telephone calls and e-mail messages from architectural firms to clarify the information requested.

“We will probably see a variation. Some may not do drawings or floor plans,” she said.

Gunnufson suggested that the village board and library board meet prior to the next village board meeting on December 8.

Mark Halpin, village trustee and the village board’s representative on the library board, said he was of the opinion that a meeting devoted solely to the discussion of the proposals would be a better idea.

If there is only one meeting on any given night, then village board members and library board members will have more time to review the proposals and to discuss them, he said.

Village board members agreed to schedule the joint meeting with the library board for December 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If the meeting is scheduled for later in December, then it becomes more difficult to find a date that works for everyone because of holiday parties and school programs and family get-togethers, Ludwig said.

After the village board and library board have reviewed the proposals, a “town hall meeting” will be held for the residents of Colfax and the surrounding townships that are served by the Colfax Public Library.

Initially, the plan was to hold the town hall meeting in January or February, and Ludwig wondered if that was still the Colfax Village Board’s intent.

“Yes,” Gunnufson said.

Ludwig wondered about interviewing the architects before the town hall hall meeting.

Gunnufson said he wanted to do it the other way around and hold the town hall meeting with area residents first to get input from the public before interviewing the architects.

The space needs assessment, conducted by Cedar Corporation out of Menomonie, concluded that the village clerk’s office and the police department — to have adequate room for operation with existing personnel and no new employees — would need a total of 4,500 square feet in a single-story building of approximately 5,500 square feet.

The village clerk’s office and the police department currently have about 1,300 square feet available.

The space needs assessment did not directly address the needs of the Colfax Public Library because a separate assessment was done for the library several years ago.

The Colfax Public Library currently has 1,800 square feet.

Ludwig has said that a new library would require 10,000 square feet to accommodate current programming needs and to plan for future programming.

By way of comparison, Kyle’s Market in Colfax is a 10,000 square-foot-building.

The Colfax Library Board has officially accepted the donation of land from Dairy State Bank.

The Colfax Village Board has not officially accepted the donation.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Learned that the Colfax Police Chief Bill Anderson has turned over paperwork for the abatement of the Eugene Ziebell property on High Street to the village’s attorney for review. Proceeding with the clean-up of the property requires a court order if Ziebell does not clean up the property himself. Police Chief Anderson said he would give the attorney several weeks to review the file and then would follow up to check on the next step.

• Approved a training request from Police Chief Anderson for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter and Evacuate (A.L.I.C.E) Training in Turtle Lake and Cameron Middle School December 9 and 10. Police Chief Anderson said he had received a telephone call about the training from Bill Yingst, school district administrator. The training helps law enforcement and school officials to prepare in the event of an active shooter in a school building. Along with Yingst and Anderson, John Dachel, high school principal, and Kevin Bygd of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, also will be participating in the training.

• Approved a resolution for a replat of the second addition to Evergreen Cemetery.

• Approved a resolution for a replat of the third addition to Evergreen Cemetery.

• Approved employee contracts for 2015 for Rand Bates, director of public works ($48,256 per year); Don Logslett, department of public works employee ($21.70 per hour); and Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad ($37,648 per year).

• Approved purchasing a versa blade (dozer, grader, leveler) for the public works department end-loader at a total cost of $5,092 along with 48-inch tine Bobcat forks at a cost of $825 plus freight and assembly charges.