The Rice County Board of Commissioners today unanimously approved the expenditure of $267,400 for a bathroom building on the fairgrounds.  The building must be constructed before December 1, 2020 to be able to use CARES Act federal dollars.

Parks and Facilities Director Matt Verdick the previous building didn't meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or COVID-19 requirements, "We're looking to build a new facility so we can have the fairgrounds hopefully open next year and allow social distancing on the fairgrounds, and help meet the hygiene standards, mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  We're looking to use CARES funds in the amount of $267,400 with the acceptance of alternates 3 and 4 which would do tankless water heaters and then a more high-end roof to make it last longer as well.

Verdick concluded, "I'm looking for board approval to accept the bid from Met-Con which is the low bid."

Met-Con Construction of Faribault was one of seven bidders for the bathrooms replacement project.  All other bids were over $300,000.  The highest was $450,000.

Commissioner Galen Malecha of Northfield quipped, "Is there going to be a deck and a four season porch, is this a two story unit because some of these prices are more than a house, way more than a house."

Verdick replied, "There were a few really high bids that came in.  Luckily Met-Con came in right where we were expecting it  (the bid) to come in."

The former block building was taken down leaving just the foundation for the new building.  The original building was constructed in 1940 according to information provided by Rice County Historical Society Executive Director Susan Garwood.