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BEMIDJI, MINN. — Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. has been selected to serve as construction manager for the new 185,000-square-foot Bemidji Regional Event Center (BREC) located in Bemidji. The $54.5 million project will be the largest arena ever built by the company; nevertheless, with a steadfast plan and a tight budget, Kraus-Anderson seems up to the challenge.

“We are focused on getting the job done, and done right,” says Bob Fitzgerald, director of business development in the Bemidji office of Kraus-Anderson. “We welcome the opportunity to put our past experience, resources and marketplace relationships to work in delivering a value-driven construction program for the community of Bemidji.”
With an arena, convention center and various support areas planned for the project, there is no doubt that the new event center will benefit the city in more ways than one. In addition to housing Bemidji State University’s (BSU) hockey programs, the building will provide a venue for a range of events. According to Fitzgerald, the project will have an estimated $13 million annual impact on the economy of north-central Minnesota.

However, before the city can start reaping the benefits of the venue, Kraus-Anderson will have to utilize its multi-faceted approach in order to keep construction costs down. From providing continuous cost analysis, to constantly pursuing cost savings for the owner, Kraus-Anderson ensures its product will be rolled out on time and within budget.

“The key to cost control is our ability to track costs from the time of selection through the final design, and to provide accurate estimates,” Fitzgerald says. “The end result of our processes will have aligned the design with the budget.”

Currently in the early stages of the pre-construction phase, Kraus-Anderson is not scheduled to break ground until May 2009. Upon completion of the project, which is slated for January 2011, the arena will be able to hold up to 4,000 BSU hockey fans. When the hockey season is over, the arena can be converted into a 6,000-seat concert hall. The convention center will house 10,000 square feet of dividable ballroom space and 4,000 square feet of meeting rooms. Additionally, the property will feature an outdoor plaza area adjacent to the building.

“The city of Bemidji will become a premier northern Minnesota destination that features a socially and economically vibrant destination within a park-like setting,” Fitzgerald says. “Kraus-Anderson is thrilled to join the BREC project team.”

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