New police station moves step closer to reality

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Chief Ian Hodge described how the Loen building would be laid out during a tour Monday night.

Marcus to oversee work on Loen building

Converting the Loen Electric building in southwest Benson to become the new Benson Police Department headquarters moved a step closer Monday night with the approval of a construction management agreement with Marcus Construction of Willmar.

Marcus presented an estimated cost for the renovation of the 3,602 square-foot Loen building along with a 1,755-square-foot addition of $381,925. That is slightly less than the $388,000 city estimate. Marcus will also act as the construction manager.

Rather than hirer an architect to develop detailed plans and specifications for the work on the new police department, with the contract going to a single general contractor, the city is hiring Marcus to break the work down into smaller packages, City Manager Rob Wolfington said.

“We think that is a cheaper way to go and will more likely attract local labor and materials versus a general (contractor) who goes through the construction bulletin,” he said.

Last month, the council approved buying the Loen Electric building in southwest Benson for $199,500. With the renovation, new construction and the building purchase the total cost of the new police department comes to $581,425.

While the purchase is effective Feb. 28 the city won’t be taking possession of the building until July 1.

During Monday night’s meeting the council toured the Loen building with Chief Ian Hodge explaining how renovations and new construction would be laid out.

Loen Electric is moving its operations into a building it owns on the south side of U.S. Highway 12 west. It is between the Swift County Development Achievement Center and the Historical Museum.

Currently, the police force is located in the basement of the 1940s Benson City Hall. Water seeping through the walls has led to mold growing on the walls between the concrete foundation and the covering on the walls. At a special city council meeting last October on possible new city hall and police department locations, Hodge said that the basement city hall office space “… is not habitable.”

People with allergies to mold have been quickly affected by the mold in the basement police department offices....


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Pictured: Chief Ian Hodge described how the Loen building would be laid out during a tour Monday night.

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