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Progress for new Government Services Center building, declaration of disaster following spring storm among County Board votes

St. Louis County board. Submitted / St. Louis County

The St. Louis County Board cast two significant votes — approving a construction management contract for the new Government Service Center North facility to be built in Virginia and issued a disaster declaration to assist the City of Duluth in attaining state disaster assistance funds — following last week’s storm that caused damage in multiple locations along the Lake Superior shoreline.

The County Board approved a contract with Max Gray Construction of Hibbing, to serve as construction manager at risk for the project, with a guaranteed maximum price of $19 million for the GSC North facility. By following this process, the county has one contract with the construction company, which then handles all subcontractor contracts and other details at the site.

Groundbreaking for the GSC North is expected to take place next month, and the building is expected to be complete in the fall of 2019. The facility will serve as a centralized hub for people in Virginia and surrounding areas to access county services from more than 10 departments in one place. The two-story, 63,000 square foot building will replace the aging Northland Office Building. Approximately 180 employees will work in the building.

“We are building a safer and more accommodating facility for our citizens and employees, as well,” said Board Chair Keith Nelson. “We are investing in downtown Virginia and securing that these jobs will remain here to support the community and residents of central and northern St. Louis County.”

The Board also declared a State of Local Disaster Area following the April 13-16 snow and wind storm that severely damaged areas along the shore of Lake Superior and harbor area near the DECC and Aquarium, and other infrastructure along the Lake. The City of Duluth is conducting a Damage and Impact Assessment Report for submission to Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) to determine eligibility for state public disaster assistance.

The County Board voted unanimously to approve both resolutions. Today’s meeting was held in Ely City Hall.