Artist rendition of proposed Pelican Rapids pool-aquatic center.

An area firm was low bidder for the proposed Pelican Rapids swimming pool and aquatic center—but higher than original projections. 

Rising costs for materials and labor, and a general uptick in inflation, may be factors in the $4.62 million low bid. 

Submitting the low bid was Perham-based Hammers Construction. 

The original estimate, dating back a couple of years, was $4.2 million. 

Complicating the Pelican Rapids City Council’s decision further are “prevailing wages.” If the city is successful in receiving a $1.5 million state grant to fund part of the project, the contractor must pay “prevailing wages.” 

The pool project was bid in two parts: 

• Under the assumption the project would be at local-regional wages. The Hammer bid of $4.62 million was based on area wages. 

• The second bid was based on statewide “prevailing wages.” Hammers was also the low bidder on this basis, at $5.1 million.

The other three bidders ranged from $5 million to $5.73 million. Other firms bidding included TF Powers Construction, Gast Construction and Comstock Construction. 

Architect for the pool project, Scott DeMartelaere, of Fergus Falls-based Design Intent, has recommended Hammers for the job. But the Pelican council has plenty to consider going forward, as the bids exceeded preliminary estimates by as much as $500,000, including architect-engineering fees.

The council was scheduled to discuss the bids at the Nov. 30 meeting, but details were not available at press time. 

The existing pool was constructed in 1978, and has been a constant maintenance issue for the city—including frequent hard-to-locate and hard-to-repair leaks. 

The project will include pool with zero entry, splash pad three-lane lap pool, slide, plunge pool and a lazy river feature. Also included is a pool house with lockers, new shower and bathroom fixtures—which will also serve the neighboring Pelican-city campground, which has been a important recreation-lodging option in the city. 

An ambitious campaign by the local pool committee has generated more than $2.5 million in donations and pledges toward the project. 

State grant for pool eyed at $1.5 million

A $1.5 million grant may be sought from the state to help complete the funding of the Pelican Rapids pool-aquatic center. 

Pelican pool advocates and the city lobbied for the grant, which included a visit by state legislators in the fall. Legislators toured the existing pool facilities, and also the Pelican city damsite—which is in line for another grant from the state bonding bill, for a pedestrian bridge to replace the existing dam walk-way.

The grant is sought from the “Targeted Community Capital” fund. 

Among the key selling points for the grant is the fact that nearly 60 percent of the city’s residents are non-white, and minorities that are under-served for water recreation and swimming lesson instruction. 

Pelican’s population is also 16.8 percent lower income—compared to the statewide average of 10.4 percent. 

A resolution on the grant was scheduled to be discussed by the city council at the Nov. 30 meeting—after this edition went to press.