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Wayzata Council chooses design firm for Section Foreman House rehab | Wayzata

Wayzata Council chooses design firm for Section Foreman House rehab | Wayzata

The Wayzata City Council recently voted to enter into an agreement with a design firm for rehabilitation work on the historic Section Foreman House. (Sun file photo by Jason Jenkins)

Work from Cushing Terrell will include architecture and engineering services

The Wayzata City Council approved the hiring of a design firm for rehabilitation work on the historic Section Foreman House.

The professional services agreement, approved during the council’s Oct. 19 meeting, is with architecture, design and engineering firm Cushing Terrell (formerly known as CTA Architects Engineers). The planned work is to reuse the vacant house as a lakeshore learning center.

“The scope of work here with an architect is to work on ideas for rehabilitating the structure and using it as a lakeshore learning center and then also looking at the potential for outdoor learning opportunities in this area,” said Emily Goellner, the city’s community development director.

In August, the city issued a request for proposals for design services for the rehab project. Seven proposals were reviewed by a selection committee that included Councilmembers Cathy Iverson and Alex Plechash; Heritage Preservation Board member Judy Starkey; Aaron Person and Sue Sorrentino of the  Wayzata Historical Society; Nate Leding and Blake Sandvold from the Wayzata Conservancy as well as several city staff members and representatives from New History and Assembly MN.

The selection committee chose three firms to interview and ultimately decided to move forward with Cushing Terrell.

The Section Foreman House’s footprint is about 1,100 square feet and sits on a lakefront site that is more than 36,000 square feet. The total usable square footage of the building is about 2,400 square feet.

Built by Great Northern Railroad as the railway continued to expand in the early 20th century, the house was the Wayzata residence for railroad foremen and their families. The foremen were responsible for inspections and repairs to their assigned 20-mile section of track.

The 1902 house, which is nestled between the railroad tracks and Lake Minnetonka at 738 Lake St. N., is owned by the city and recently earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Work to historically preserve and renovate the Section Foreman House and surrounding area is included in the second phase of the Panoway on Wayzata Bay initiative. Phase two also includes building a boardwalk along the lakefront, restoration of the shoreline and creating an eco park outside the Section Foreman house with a pier extension over the lake.

The city’s summary of the request for proposals provides guidance that the “Section Foreman House will be rehabilitated for reuse as a new vibrant lakefront learning center providing indoor and outdoor classroom and community space as part of a new eco park. The learning center will feature educational programming to learn about early 20th century railroad operations and the influence of the Great Northern Railroad on the geographic, economic and social development of Wayzata. The purpose of the eco park is to restore shoreline marsh and improve water quality while providing STEM-based learning opportunities.”

Restoration of the Section Foreman House will include a full interior and exterior renovation while historically preserving the structure. The first floor will be intended for public use as a learning center with compliance to Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. The second floor will also be restored, but won’t be intended for full public use. The basement will be used primarily as storage space.

The project, including the agreement with Cushing Terrell, is planned to be funded through the city but completely reimbursed by the Wayzata Conservancy with other potential sources that are outside city funds. The cost for basic services in the agreement total around $104,000. Basic services for the project include architecture, landscape architecture, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services as well as detailed cost estimating.

The anticipated construction budget for the building and minimal site improvements is estimated to be between $250,000-$300,000. The total cost for the Section Foreman House project is expected to be between $600,000-$900,000. The project will be funded through the Wayzata Conservancy using dollars that include private donations and, potentially, grant funding.

Before the unanimous vote of approval, members of the council thanked the selection committee for their work in choosing a design firm.

“It’s hard to go against such an impressive selection committee, and I trust that they’ve done good work,” said Councilmember Jeff Buchanan. “It looks like this is a great selection.”

With the programming and pre-design phase underway, the next step will be for the city to choose a contractor and move into the construction phase, which city leaders anticipate will begin this coming summer if all permitting and funding are secured.

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