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Dickinson Park Board moves forward with expansion

Press Photo by Bryan Horwath Dickinson Parks and Rec Director James Kramer addresses members of the Parks and Recreation District Board of Commissioners during a meeting Monday at the West River Community Center.

Continuing to move along a path that will likely lead to a nearly $22 million expansion of facilities, the Dickinson Parks and Recreation District Board of Commissioners voted Monday to approve an architectural agreement with a Denver-based firm.

During its regular meeting at the West River Community Center, the board voted unanimously to officially enter into an agreement with Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative Architecture, which will be responsible for design of the project and assorted structural, mechanical and electrical engineering services. The agreement states Ohlson Lavoie will require a fee of 7.3 percent of the estimated construction costs.

The planned project would include an outdoor pool along with expanded fitness and gymnasium areas at the WRCC and an addition to the Dickinson Recreation Center for a second ice sheet and updating of the building's exterior. The project has yet to gain approval from the city and bidding on construction will come at a later date. The target date for shovels to hit the ground is April 1 of next year.

Although membership rates at the WRCC are expected to go up in 2013 -- partially to pay for the expansion -- additional revenue to help pay down the project could also be secured from selling naming rights to some of the new areas, said Parks and Rec Director James Kramer.

"We've been very upfront in that we're not interested in commercializing the community center or the outdoor pool," Kramer said. "As far as the Rec Center goes, there could be a naming of the two arenas. Right now, obviously, it's called the Rec Center and that wouldn't change, but we could have naming rights for each arena."

The board will bring its plan for the expansion project to the city for final approval in early 2013. A substantial completion date for the project is tentatively set for May 15, 2014.

The eventual addition of an outdoor pool was part of the original design of the WRCC, which opened in 2004. Kramer said the north side of the building was also built to accommodate an expansion. Public comments on the project were allowed Monday, though no residents showed up.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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