Holiday inn

Subcommittee ranks former Holiday Inn # 1 among three sites for Vocational and Technical Education Center project – Grand Forks Herald

A subcommittee of the Steering Committee of the Career and Technical Education Workforce Center has preliminary classified the former Holiday Inn – more recently known as the Grand Forks Inn and Suites – on Gateway Drive near Interstate 29 at the top of ” a list of potential locations for a new Vocational and Technical Training Center.

The other options, ranked second and third, are a City Business Park site and an addition to Red River High School. The facilities subcommittee has eliminated a fourth option, the old Sears building at Columbia Mall, said Shari Elgin, chair of the 11-member subcommittee.

The Vocational and Tech Center site is part of the $ 10 million request that the Grand Forks School District plans to submit to the state this fall. The 2021 North Dakota Legislature committed $ 70 million in federal funding to start or expand CTE centers. The $ 10 million sought by Grand Forks must be supplemented by local public and private financial or in-kind contributions.

Grant funding for these centers will be provided by the North Dakota Department of Technical and Vocational Education in two rounds, with application deadlines being October 1 and December 1.

The three options for the CTE center here are all considered viable at this point, said Eric Ripley, director of CTE and technology for Grand Forks Public Schools. He minimized the notion of ranking a little, because a crucial element, the cost associated with each site, is not yet known, and therefore the ranking could change.

The architectural firm chosen for the project “will tell us the pros and cons” of the different sites, said Ripley, a member of the subcommittee. “And, for me, they have this expertise that we lack to be able to further refine this list.

“We really believe that one of the most important things in the near future that our architectural firm will do is help us get to the preferred site.”

The company, which has yet to be approved by the Grand Forks School Board, will provide much of the cost information the subcommittee needs to select the best site, Ripley said.

This week, another committee has reviewed and assessed responses to its request for proposals from three local architectural engineering firms, and will submit its recommendation – JLG Architects – to the school board for approval at its next regular meeting on Monday, August 23. .

The other companies that submitted requests for proposals were EAPC and ICON.

Committee members are Ripley; Chris Arnold, GFPS Director of Buildings and Grounds; John Oncken, owner of True North Equipment; Amber Flynn, vice-president of the school board; and Mayor Brandon Bochenski.

“We were not only excited about this interest, but also confident in one of these three companies to be able to provide exactly the type of service we were looking for,” said Ripley. “So we felt we had a solid group to choose from and it wasn’t necessarily an easy choice.”

Ripley and other members of the subcommittee will look to the selected company “to help us finalize this site selection and obviously future design elements, plans and things of that nature,” he said. -he declares. “We believe their expertise will be invaluable as we narrow this list down to a preferred choice.”

In ranking the last three CTE center site options, the subcommittee took into account factors – which were approved by the steering committee – such as ease of access for Grand Forks and rural students, proximity to industry, capacity for expansion, flexibility of space, cost factors, amenities and site security, Elgin said.

She stressed that data on the development costs of each site is “unclear” or not yet available, noting that the contribution of the selected architectural engineering firm “will make a difference”.

The former Holiday Inn site has advantages in terms of ease of access for students: it is on a bus line; proximity to industry; space for expansion; flexibility of space; and parking, Elgin said. That could mean razing the structure and building a new facility, she said.

The City Business Park site, which would mean new construction, also offers space for expansion, space flexibility and proximity to industry, but is not yet on a bus route, he said. she declared. Being on a bus route would be important, especially to accommodate adult learners and evening schedules, she said.

“We’re still a bit ahead and that’s why there are different rankings; we are not positive yet. And so something might come into play that we don’t know, ”Elgin said. “It really depends on now, once the (architectural) firm is chosen, we can get better direction and cost ideas as well, because that’s going to be a major factor as well. ”

The location in the City Business Park would be close to the FedEx Ground site, said Todd Feland, city administrator, but the concern about this location is that it “would use a business park site for a center. CTE “.

The Red River High School site has limitations in terms of space available for expansion, flexibility and amenities, Feland said.

The high school isn’t that close to the industry either, and insufficient parking would be a downside, Elgin said.

“We are trying to move forward,” she said. “The idea for the CTE center has been in the community for quite some time, but now with this grant opportunity it really makes it urgent, as there is the possibility of some grant funds that were never available. previously. If we could work on that and get some of that money, that would be great. ”

The Facilities Sub-Committee will submit its final site recommendation to the Steering Committee for approval. The steering committee will make its recommendation to the school board, which will make the final decision.

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