#2 — Minot was construction city in 2016

Jill Schramm/MDN Construction workers prepare to work on the exterior cladding on one of the two parking ramps in downtown Minot. The exterior finish on both downtown parking ramps is to be completed by Feb. 10 under a bid award granted by the Minot City Council to Rolac Contracting of Minot. Total cost is $573,6778 with contingencies and architectural/engineering expenses.

Many Minot residents could be forgiven for thinking that 2016 was the year of never ending road and building construction in downtown Minot.

The first of two downtown parking structures was opened in February, following a 2 1/2 year long saga that city officials called “challenging.”  The second parking ramp opened this fall.

Shaw-Lundquist and Associates of St. Paul, Minn., began work on the Renaissance ramp and the Central ramp in October 2013. The Renaissance ramp, which opened with 225 spaces, is located south of the big “M” building in downtown Minot. Work stopped on that ramp in the fall of 2014 amid concerns that subcontractors weren’t being paid. Then the city discovered that the ramp could not be completed for the original bid price of $10.5 million. The cost had ballooned to an estimated $19 million by December 2014, when the city officials met with Shaw-Lundquist and Cypress Development of Portland, Ore., representatives. The city of Minot ended up committing more than $9 million, mostly from Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery dollars and the MAGIC Fund.

By December 2015, some 35 parking spaces in the first structure were opened, with a grand opening for the first parking structure held in February.

The second downtown parking structure, the Central ramp, opened in May with another 225 parking spaces.

City officials said the added parking in both structures will help downtown retailers and building owners.

However, at the end of the project, the city of Minot discovered that more money was owed to finish the exterior walls of the two parking structures. The low bid for the project came in at $505,000 and was awarded to Rolac Contracting of Minot.

Meanwhile, work continued on the second phase of three years of work to improve city streets and infrastructure. Work accomplished in Phase II included extensive water main, sanitary sewer and storm sewer replacement and new curb, streets, sidewalk and lighting. Two additional blocks of the Phase II project are scheduled to be completed in 2017 along with final improvements scheduled under Phase III.

At a grand opening ceremony in November, Mayor Chuck Barney said the completed project was exciting and helped develop the character of downtown Minot.

Elsewhere in downtown Minot, work continued on the $40 million expansion of the Ward County Jail, which followed completion of a new office building for county workers, where workers took occupancy late last year.

The expanded portion of the jail is expected to open in 2018, increasing the jail’s capacity from 104 to 300 beds.

The project has exceeded original spending projections.

A new $43 million airport terminal in Minot opened in late February. Officials praised the terminal as triple the size of the former terminal and one of the most modern in the country. It was part of an overall $75.7 million airport improvement project.

Even though air travel has slowed, federal, state, and local officials who spoke at a dedication ceremony last spring said the investment in the new airport was still money well spent.

School officials also have celebrated construction of John Hoeven Elementary, the first new school constructed in the Minot school district for decades, and two new classroom additions at Edison and Perkett Elementaries. The building projects were paid for with a $39.5 million bond issue approved by Minot voters in 2014. School officials said the new elementary has helped address overcrowding and meant the district could do away with many of the portable classrooms that had been used at schools in the district.