City has renewed interest in NMC buildingThe former Nuclear Management Co. building is being considered for a public use again - to possibly house both the police department and the Hudson Area Joint Library.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The former Nuclear Management Co. building is being considered for a public use again.
Hudson Mayor Dean Knudson recommended to the City Council on Sept. 8 that it explore buying the three-level building to solve a need for more space for the police department and the Hudson Area Joint Library.
The mayor’s recommendation came after a team of architects who studied the space needs of the city’s police, fire and ambulance departments delivered its findings.
The three architects led by Stephen Pederson of Frisbie Architects Inc. recommended providing additional space for the police department “as soon as possible.”
The report said the expansion could be accomplished either by acquiring the NMC building or constructing a combined police, fire department and emergency medical services building.
The site development and construction costs of a 41,000-square-foot public safety building were estimated at more than $8.4 million.
“The political reality is, we won’t be building an $8.4 million building in 2010,” Knudson said in his comments after the architectural team had given its report.
The mayor said the police department and library have the most pressing need for expanded facilities, and that the acquisition of the NMC building would be the quickest way to satisfy their needs.
“Does that mean we’re going to buy that building? I don’t know,” Knudson added.
“I think we need to have a near-term solution and a long-term solution,” he said of the city’s overall public safety facility needs.
Knudson recommended immediately pursuing a site for a new building for the fire department and St. Croix Emergency Medical Services, but postponing construction of the facility.
St. Croix EMS and the fire department could benefit from the police department vacating the City Hall garage and lower level, he said.
The Frisbie report said some or all of the City Hall space could be used for storage, small vehicles and possibly the office functions of one of the departments.
Knudson said St. Croix EMS could be reorganized because of the financial challenges it faces resulting from inadequate Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and patients not paying their bills.
“I’m not in favor of building a big,new building for them when so much seems uncertain,” he said.
Noting that the fire department serves other municipalities in addition to the city, Knudson said the city can’t compel the partners to share in the cost of a new building.
Near the end of its meeting, the City Council went into closed session to discuss strategy for negotiating the possible purchase of the NMC building and one of five properties that the Frisbie report identified as suitable locations for a new public safety facility.
The potential building sites included:
1. County property at the northwest corner of Vine Street and Carmichael Road;
2. Privately-owned land on the west side of Carmichael about a half-mile north of I-94;
3. The state-owned former Travel Information Center on Crest View Drive;
4. Privately-owned land on the east side of Carmichael Road about a half-mile south of I-94; and
5. Privately-owned land at the northeast corner of Carmichael and I-94.
This would be the second attempt to convert the NMC building to a public use if the City Council goes along with Knudson’s plan.
In 2008, the Hudson Area Library Foundation proposed moving the Hudson Area Joint Library into the building.
The total cost of the project was estimated at $10.5 million – including the purchase price of the building and the cost of renovating and equipping it. The Library Foundation expected to raise $5.5 million in charitable donations to help fund the project.
Xcel Energy’s asking price for the building at that time was reported to be $3.8 million. It’s thought that the price has dropped considerably since then.
For more on this story, see the September 17 print edition of the Hudson Star-Observer.