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Mitchell City Council approves bid to turn old pool room at Rec Center into fitness area

The approved bid for the project revealed how drastically construction costs have increased in recent years, as it came in roughly $216,000 over the budgeted amount

Shown here is the old pool room inside the Mitchell Recreation Center, which will soon be transformed into a cardio and exercise room.
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MITCHELL — After being sidelined for several years, the old pool room inside the Mitchell Recreation Center will be getting a facelift and transforming into a fitness room.

The Mitchell City Council approved Mueller Lumber’s $627,040 bid on Monday to take the project on, which entails remodeling some of the walls in the old pool room and installing heating and air conditioning units.

“All of the walls will be redone, along with a new ceiling. There will be a bunch of electronics to become a workout facility when it’s done,” Public Works Director Joe Schroeder said of the project.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Nelson said the project will also install a heating and air conditioning system in the back gym of the Recreation Center. Nelson added that more workout equipment will be brought into the fitness room.

The approved bid for the project revealed how drastically construction costs have increased in recent years, as it came in roughly $216,000 over the budgeted amount. Puetz Design Build submitted the only other bid, which came in at a little under $769,000.


Considering the previous bids on the project that were much lower did not include the HVAC systems, Schroeder said it contributed to the higher bids this time around. The city had received bids for the old pool room project roughly a year ago, but they were rejected after the city opted to shelve the project.

Schroeder pointed to the rising costs of construction material like hardware as major factors for the most recent bids coming in as high as they were.

“They are saying equipment and other items are at least starting to level. What they’re saying is the smaller stuff like hardware is still skyrocketing,” Schroeder said. “As far as the building world goes, prices are still increasing.”

Mayor Bob Everson characterized the construction industry as “very volatile” and said it’s become challenging for city officials to put an accurate price tag on projects for budgeting purposes.

In response to a question from the council whether the project could be shelved once again in hopes of construction and building materials tapering off below where they are now, Nelson indicated costs are expected to consistently rise

“One of the contractors indicated he had normally seen product price increases of 3% per year. But as of the last two years, they have been going up 22% per year,” Nelson said.

The project completion date is set for November 2023.

“When you try to budget for 12 months out and fuel prices change so drastically, it’s hard to get a good number to even start with,” Street and Sanitation Supervisor Kevin Roth said.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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