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Bemidji (MN) Community Events Center


no97

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Okay, there is some debate as to the design of the proposed Bemidji (Minnesota) Community Events Center that would house Division-I Bemidji State University Beaver hockey. To this point, a lot has to be done before the building is a go (two State Legislature bonding requests and a city sales tax must pass), but that's another story. What I'm looking for is purely opinions on the design of the building itself.

First a little back-story: The building (with a main arena with 3500 seats and a practice sheet of ice, plus convention space) would sit in what is called the "down-town rail-corridor," where the old train station, and a former train depot is located. The depot building is currently used to house the Beltrami County Historical Society. The train station is not in use, although has been used recently as a restaurant. The train tracks that go through the area no longer serve passenger travel, and are just for cargo, but the area used to be the primary access to this remote northern Minnesota town (about four hours north of Minneapolis/St. Paul). To facilitate the building of the Events Center, the train station would have to be moved, or torn down, as would a few other buildings. That is not what my question is. Again, I ask about the design of the building, intended to resemble an old train station, seen in the renderings available below:

Bemidji Community Events Center

Thanks in advance for your opinions...

Moose

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My opinion on the building itself? Very cool. It has character.

A lot of minor/college hockey arenas especially take the easy route out and build a barn. This place could be more than just a building covering a rink, it could be a destination, and a bright spot in the community.

That said, the collateral damage to the taxpayers and the surrounding region (moving buildings get tricky and pricy) might be too much. Good luck, Bemidji. May you one day be known for more than a Jazz Festival. ^_^

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This is very important - The greater Bemidji community has had a mixed reaction to the design. There are those that like the ties to the train motif, and there are those that think it should resemble more a "hockey rink." Truthfully, I'm not sure exactly what a hockey rink should look like, especially a small one (again, 3500 seats.) The Ralph Engelstad Arena, Thief River Falls, MN was used as a design base for the inside (in fact, the same architect, Schoen Associates) designed the "Little Ralph," the "Big Ralph" in Grand Forks, ND - where the Univ. of North Dakota plays, and where the World Jr. Tourney was held last year, and the Bemidji Community Events Center; However, the exterior of the Little Ralph leaves a lot to the imagination. The Berry Events Center, in Marquette, MI, home to Northern Michigan Univ. (another Division-I hockey school) is another smaller venue, but again, is unremarkable from the outside.

I'd like to be able to take some outsiders perspectives to an informal meeting comming up in early January to let folks know your general thoughts. Please, as many of you as possible, what are your thoughts on the design of the Bemidji Community Events Center?

Thanks in advance!

Moose

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Personally, I'm not the biggest fan. However it could be because of the renderings. To me the hand drawn ones usually are better indicators of what its going to look like. Computer rendered drawings (esspecially when spliced with "real" elements like these) don't look as good. I find myself consintrating on that instead.

Anyway...like I siad, not the biggest fan of this. Something looks off to me. Its kinda got a japanese feel with the roofs.

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  • 6 months later...

Well, I'm dragging this back up for a couple of reasons. First off, the City of Bemidji received $3 million in planning and design money at the past legislative session (the same session that got the Twins and Gophers new facilities) towards the now named Bemidji Regional Events Center.

Also, the renderings that are linked in my initial posts are the preliminary designs, and not necessarily the final plan. As such, a subcommittee is being put together to expressly deal with building design. Well guess what? I was asked to be on the committee!

Now, as I work in the local media (Sports Director of the local sports talk radio station), my primary concern will be the press box. I plan to meet with the other guys who will use the press box on a regular basis - the newspaper guys, the photo guys, and the TV guys, as well as the other radio guys in town, to make sure the press box is perfect.

Besides that, I'm also a big ballpark/stadium/arena nut anyway. I've been to a ton of MLB ballparks, and a lot of college hockey arena's as well as most of the high school hockey and basketball facilities here in Minnesota. I'm really looking foreword to this experience!

Moose

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As I just looked at it, it does not look much like an arena/convention center, but more like a community recreation center. I think that because of the darker brick. If a lighter shade was in the spec, I may think different. As for the rail motif, greater detail may give it more justice, but I would rather see something else than what is present.

Congrats on your appointment to committee, but one phrase that you will hear constantly is "value engineering". Basically, cutting things out due to budgetary constraints. Since this is a municipal/state project, this also means lowest bidder. Even if the architech has certain specifications, the contractor may go with lower grade items. You are not the project manager, so it might be unlikely that you see all bid documents, but it is a very interesting process.

I have been through three different projects for arena/recreation center construction. If you would like to know how these committees work, give me a PM.

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Just got some info on the interested architecture firms. The city held a meeting back on June 28, outlining the RFQ (Request for Quote) and RFP (Request for Proposal) process. Here is a list of the architecture firms that showed up to the meeting. Obviously, HOK Sport and Ellerbe Becket are the two names that stand out the most, but Schoen Associates is the firm that did the initial rederings that I first posted. They are also responsible for both Ralph Engelstad Arena's (Univ of North Dakota's in Grand Forks and the one in Thief River Falls, MN - the one the BREC is based on)

Moose

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  • 3 months later...

Bringing this one back from the dead, as today is the day for the referrendum on the half cent sales tax to fund 60% of the building...

Should note that the firms of Leo A Daly and Widseth, Smith, Nolting (a local firm) were selected for the design of the building. It will look nothing like the pic's that were origionally linked, and I don't think those work anymore, anyway...

Moose

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After a heated public debate, the Bemidji Regonal Events Center passed last night by a slim margin (45 votes) 2,227 to 2,182. Here's the Bemdiji Pioneer article on the election results...

I'm looking foreward to getting back to work planning this building for the community. The next steps are to go back to the legislature two more times. Next this comming session (Spring 2007) for them to radify the referrendum results, then in 2008 for the remaining 40% of construction costs.

Moose

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The building will include two sheets of ice (a main arena and a practice sheet), and all ice rinks can be modified into curling rinks; but it will contain no curling specific ice...

You know, Jamie Johnson works at the local Home Depot...

5056057_135X180.jpg

I don't know where Cassie Johnson is right now...

CassieJohnson_h.jpg

Moose

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