City Hall project in Watertown in question after remodeling bid blows past budget estimate (Audio)

August 15, 2022
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–Plans to remodel the former Wells Fargo Bank building on North Maple in downtown Watertown into a new City Hall have been put on hold, for the time being at least, as the city tries to find a way to get it done within budget.

On Monday night, the city council rejected a bid from Gray Construction of Watertown, and will negotiate with them in an attempt to get it done for less money, as is allowed under state law.

Gray’s bid, which was the only one received by the city, was nearly $2.5 million over budget.

The city already owns the bank building. They bought it in November 2020 for $1.3 million, but remodeling costs have proven to be very expensive.

Only one member of the seven member council spoke on this topic Monday night. That was Councilman Colin Paulsen…

The bank building, which now sits empty, would require an addition to be built onto it so city council meetings could be held there. That alone came in at a cost of $1.65 million according to Gray Construction’s bid.

Following contract negotiations, city staff will bring back to the council a proposed contract from Gray Construction for the council to consider.

Any award of a contract would likely be contingent on the council appropriating another $1 million in funds for the project in Fiscal Year 2023.