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The City of Park Rapids opens their newly remodeled offices

The new layout at city hall offers a more open and welcoming reception area. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)1 / 3
Temporary signs outside of the former entrance now redirect individuals to the east entrance. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)2 / 3
The City of Park Rapids have relocated the entrance to their administrative offices to the east side of their building with a fresh office space and more ample parking. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)3 / 3

The City of Park Rapids has completed renovations to their administrative offices and relocated the front entrance around the corner to the east side of their current building.

The offices in the south portion of the building had formerly been occupied by the Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District and the United States Department of Agriculture. According to Public Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Chris Fieldsend, those offices were relocated in fall of 2016.

The plans for the renovation were drawn up by bhh Partners Planners/Architects out of Perham in the early part of 2017.

"We initially thought we could go out the west side into the parking lot. But we learned the area is about one foot higher than the floor in the offices and we would have had to clear out the parking lot and then do the remodel," Fieldsend said, adding that the lowest bid submitted for that initial project was over $591,000, some as high as $900,000.

"We decided we would do it in phases," he added. "We were going to move back here and use the alleyway for a front entrance

A contract with Hammers Construction Inc out of Perham, who also completed the city's Public Works building and the bathrooms at Deane Point Park, was signed in Jan. 2017 to complete the renovation for a project cost of nearly $55,000.

Construction began in March with an interior completion date of May 10. There is still work to be completed on the exterior of the building.

According to Fieldsend, the City addressed some moisture issues by replacing all of the old windows that had been leaking between the interior and exterior walls.

The carpet was replaced, the walls were redone and repainted; the project also required installing new ceiling in portions of the office.

"I think it turned out nice. I think the reception area is laid out much better than what we had and everyone likes all of the light," Fieldsend said, adding that the layout of the space was designed to be open, giving a fuller view of all the office spaces to visitors.

Fieldsend also added that the City would like the entrance to be back on the street where it was.

Although there has not yet been an official decision and nothing has even been presented to the council, the space where the offices were previously located will likely be remodeled to accommodate a new front entrance and the city council chambers as well as a polling place for elections.

"It's definitely not budgeted for this year so it would be next year at the earliest," Fieldsend said, adding that the architect has not yet come up with a preliminary design for the north portion of the building.