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Upper Des Moines Opportunity Discusses Office Relocation

By Staff | Nov 30, 2010

The Board of Directors of Upper Des Moines Opportunity spent nearly 45 minutes Tuesday night, Nov. 23, discussing a relocation of the Administrative Offices of the community service agency.

The discussion on moving UDMO’s main offices from Graettinger came about after a study commissioned by the UDMO Board’s Building Committee earlier this year, in response to employee concerns with the current headquarters facility.

Building Committee member Pastor Glenn Bohmer of Estherville noted that the group was not bringing a recom-mendation of any kind to the whole board.

“What we do suggest is that the board approve an agreement between the owners of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building in Spencer and the Boys and Girls Home in Graettinger, requesting them to hold their properties from sale until March 1 of next year,” Bohmer explained. “That agreement would also include ‘option money’ of say $500 for each property to show those owners we are interested.”

The two buildings were identified in a study conducted by Professors Mark Grey and Michele Devlin, of the University of Northern Iowa, who studied the current headquarters and explored some options.

UDMO’s executive offices moved to Graettinger in 1988, but the consultants stated in their report, “many employees have felt that the facility is cramped and somewhat dreary. The lack of windows and natural light in the interior offices creates a dark, warehouse-like feeling that is not terribly pleasant. This factor alone may not justify the move to a new headquarters building, but the rapidly growing number of employees and serious structural problems with the current building-namely the loss of the integrity of its foundation-make the move necessary.”

Bohmer went on to note that the committee knew there were concerns about costs of moving and obtaining another building. “We have to wonder just how willing the communities would be to meet our desires as far as a new building. How much do we want these communities to do? How much can we spend? Our auditors suggest we maintain a five to 10 percent reserve cash fund, so how much can we dedicate to making a move?”

Representatives of the Graettinger Development Board were on hand for the discussion and spokesman JR Brown presented a written report from Todd E. Alexander, P.E., Senior Engineer for Energy Panel Structures in Graettinger. Alexander inspected the headquarters building after learning of the structural concerns and in his two-page report, Alexander acknowledged the interior concrete slab had settled in the northwest corner of the building previously, but had been corrected by mud-jacking grout under the settled slab.

Alexander also found the west end of the north foundation wall had pulled away from the building slightly, but “the amount of foundation settlement does not appear to be excessive or negatively affecting the structural performance of the building.”

The engineer noted that downspouts drained directly into the soil at the exterior walls as extensions had been removed. “It is our opinion the buildingis structurally adequate to support all anticipated loads,” Alexander concluded in his report. “The settlement of the interior slab does not appear to have affected the structural performance of the building.”

“The mission of our agency is to help those who need help,” observed Board Member Dan McCain. “We need to use our money to do that. This study had no recommendation either way and that said a lot to me.

“With our headquarters in Palo Alto County, we have been able to apply for and receive several grants from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation over the past four years totaling $62,735,” McCain pointed out. “I visited with a couple of those board members and asked if Upper Des Moines could still apply for grants if our offices were moved to Clay County, and was told we as an organization would not qualify.”

“I think we need to look at the long term,” Bohmer said. “We need to look at the labor force pool, infrastructure, etc, that we will need to keep UDMO going in the future. Will Graettinger be able to do that? Will Spencer? I don’t know.”

“If we don’t have the money, the need, or a viable building at this time, why are we even talking about this?” McCain asked.

“That’s a good question,” Bohmer agreed.

Board member Jack Ryan of Spencer asked Ludwig if he had talked with Spencer City Manager Bob Fagen about acquiring the old FOE building, and Ludwig answered affirmatively, but had no concrete information, financially or otherwise, from Spencer officials on the building.

“I’d move that we stay put in Graettinger until the need arises for a move,” stated McCain. Board member Ron Graettinger offered a second to the motion, but Board member Burlin Matthews interrupted, noting that the Building Committee’s report needed to be accepted first before any other motion could be considered.

“Approving the Building Committee report would also mean approving the earnest money option for both buildings,” Bohmer added.

Ludwig pointed out that UDMO’s corporate reserves stood at $420,000. “I just don’t feel that it’s appropriate for us to take that money and use if for remodeling or moving in this economy. It would just be unwise at this time.”

“I also think it would be terribly irresponsible to move, given the costs and political climate,” agreed Board Member Todd Hudspeth. “We could drop $100,000 on a move easy and we only have $420,000 in the bank.”

“This all started because people said the building was structurally unsound,” observed Ron Graettinger. “That’s not so. We have an engineer’s report that says that. I am not in favor of this move idea at all.”

“I’d move we accept the building committee’s report with their motion for the earnest money option on the two buildings,” said Jack Ryan, with Matthews offering a second.

A roll call vote was called for on the motion, and just six of the 17 board members present voted for the motion. A subsequent motion to accept just the report, without the earnest money option on two buildings was then passed on a voice vote with one abstention from Bohme.

At that point, McCain withdrew his original motion, bringing the discussion on the issue to a close.

by Dan Voigt

The Board of Directors of Upper Des Moines Opportunity spent nearly 45 minutes Tuesday night, Nov. 23, discussing a relocation of the Administrative Offices of the community service agency.

The discussion on moving UDMO’s main offices from Graettinger came about after a study commissioned by the UDMO Board’s Building Committee earlier this year, in response to employee concerns with the current headquarters facility.

Building Committee member Pastor Glenn Bohmer of Estherville noted that the group was not bringing a recom-mendation of any kind to the whole board.

“What we do suggest is that the board approve an agreement between the owners of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building in Spencer and the Boys and Girls Home in Graettinger, requesting them to hold their properties from sale until March 1 of next year,” Bohmer explained. “That agreement would also include ‘option money” of say $500 for each property to show those owners we are interested.”

The two buildings were identified in a study conducted by Professors Mark Grey and Michele Devlin, of the University of Northern Iowa, who studied the current headquarters and explored some options.

UDMO’s executive offices moved to Graettinger in 1988, but the consultants stated in their report, “many employees have felt that the facility is cramped and somewhat dreary. The lack of windows and natural light in the interior offices creates a dark, warehouse-like feeling that is not terribly pleasant. This factor alone may not justify the move to a new headquarters building, but the rapidly growing number of employees and serious structural problems with the current building-namely the loss of the integrity of its foundation-make the move necessary.”

Bohmer went on to note that the committee knew there were concerns about costs of moving and obtaining another building. “We have to wonder just how willing the communities would be to meet our desires as far as a new building. How much do we want these communities to do? How much can we spend? Our auditors suggest we maintain a five to 10 percent reserve cash fund, so how much can we dedicate to making a move?”

Representatives of the Graettinger Development Board were on hand for the discussion and spokesman JR Brown presented a written report from Todd E. Alexander, P.E., Senior Engineer for Energy Panel Structures in Graettinger. Alexander inspected the headquarters building after learning of the structural concerns and in his two-page report, Alexander acknowledged the interior concrete slab had settled in the northwest corner of the building previously, but had been corrected by mud-jacking grout under the settled slab.

Alexander also found the west end of the north foundation wall had pulled away from the building slightly, but “the amount of foundation settlement does not appear to be excessive or negatively affecting the structural performance of the building.”

The engineer noted that downspouts drained directly into the soil at the exterior walls as extensions had been removed. “It is our opinion the buildingis structurally adequate to support all anticipated loads,” Alexander concluded in his report. “The settlement of the interior slab does not appear to have affected the structural performance of the building.”

“The mission of our agency is to help those who need help,” observed Board Member Dan McCain. “We need to use our money to do that. This study had no recommendation either way and that said a lot to me.

“With our headquarters in Palo Alto County, we have been able to apply for and receive several grants from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation over the past four years totaling $62,735,” McCain pointed out. “I visited with a couple of those board members and asked if Upper Des Moines could still apply for grants if our offices were moved to Clay County, and was told we as an organization would not qualify.”

“I think we need to look at the long term,” Bohmer said. “We need to look at the labor force pool, infrastructure, etc, that we will need to keep UDMO going in the future. Will Graettinger be able to do that? Will Spencer? I don’t know.”

“If we don’t have the money, the need, or a viable building at this time, why are we even talking about this?” McCain asked.

“That’s a good question,” Bohmer agreed.

Board member Jack Ryan of Spencer asked Ludwig if he had talked with Spencer City Manager Bob Fagen about acquiring the old FOE building, and Ludwig answered affirmatively, but had no concrete information, financially or otherwise, from Spencer officials on the building.

“I’d move that we stay put in Graettinger until the need arises for a move,” stated McCain. Board member Ron Graettinger offered a second to the motion, but Board member Burlin Matthews interrupted, noting that the Building Committee’s report needed to be accepted first before any other motion could be considered.

“Approving the Building Committee report would also mean approving the earnest money option for both buildings,” Bohmer added.

Ludwig pointed out that UDMO’s corporate reserves stood at $420,000. “I just don’t feel that it’s appropriate for us to take that money and use if for remodeling or moving in this economy. It would just be unwise at this time.”

“I also think it would be terribly irresponsible to move, given the costs and political climate,” agreed Board Member Todd Hudspeth. “We could drop $100,000 on a move easy and we only have $420,000 in the bank.”

“This all started because people said the building was structurally unsound,” observed Ron Graettinger. “That’s not so. We have an engineer’s report that says that. I am not in favor of this move idea at all.”

“I’d move we accept the building committee’s report with their motion for the earnest money option on the two buildings,” said Jack Ryan, with Matthews offering a second.

A roll call vote was called for on the motion, and just six of the 17 board members present voted for the motion. A subsequent motion to accept just the report, without the earnest money option on two buildings was then passed on a voice vote with one abstention from Bohme.

At that point, McCain withdrew his original motion, bringing the discussion on the issue to a close.