County requests building progress updates monthly

Ward County commissioners decided Tuesday morning that they would like to receive monthly reports from architect Don Davison, of JLG Architects, on the design and progress of the future Ward County office building.

The project is currently ongoing across from the courthouse at the corner of Third Street Southeast and the now decommissioned Third Avenue Southeast.

The decision, which was made informally and without a motion, was reached after commissioner Shelly Weppler brought up her concerns that a stairwell is designed to be built in the middle of an open area laid out for the Ward County Library on the ground floor. That design decision was reached, apparently, without notice or recommendation by the commissioners.

“That was actually because of the alternate for the fourth floor,” said Davison by phone to The Minot Daily News.

The uniform building code Davison has to follow when designing the building calls for two “points of egress,” or fire-rated exit points out of the building in case of emergency, from each floor. With the final approval of the fourth floor over the north section of the building came the design of a second point of exit outdoors.

“It effects each floor a little bit,” Davison said of the second stairwell at the location Weppler had concerns about. He added that he had looked into several different locations and that this one “caused the least disruption to the other floors.”

“The effect of the stairwell is very minimal compared to the safety benefits,” he added.

Ward County Highway Engineer Dana Larsen brought up another idea that commissioners might decide to try.

Larsen suggested the office building, which is funded by bonds backed by a half-cent sales tax passed by county voters last November, is “historic,” and its building progress should be recorded for historical record. His idea is for the county to purchase time-lapse cameras, which are modestly priced, to be mounted around the site to capture the entire process from now to completion.

In a chat after the meeting had ended, Larsen and some commissioners pointed out that municipalities and other entities maintain websites and often include, at the very least, snapshots of projects under way and of historical significance.

Expanses to crisis shelter

The Minot Domestic Violence Crisis Center will be submitting an application to the North Dakota attorney general’s office to receive $200,000 from oil impact grants. Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 15 to be eligible.

“More than half of it (the money) would go to our new safe home,” said Dena Filler, executive director for the center.

The new home will replace their current one and will be able to serve and house more than 40 people instead of the 15 to 18 the current house is able to serve.

The grant would help the long-standing plan of the center to be housed in a single, unified campus. Additional money will be put toward utility costs.

This grant is in addition to a recent grant from a domestic violence coalition in Bismarck to place a rural advocate for victims in the Kenmare-Mohall area.


Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski said at the conclusion of the meeting that a change to the meals service at the jail is moving smoothly, although they are working out a “few bugs” in the transition.

“The good news is that I’m saving $10 per inmate per day,” he said of the new food contract.

At 132 inmates, that amounts to a savings of $1,320 a day or $481,800 a year.