Formal planning for Herald’s longtime home to begin in mid-July

master plan for the Grand Forks Herald building

Grand Forks civic leaders have chosen JLG Architects to help them put together a master plan for the Grand Forks Herald building.

The firm was one of four to submit applications to the city earlier this summer. A group of library, university, city, city council and economic development corporation representatives met June 14 to review those applications and unanimously agreed that JLG was “the most qualified firm,” city staff told members of the Grand Forks Jobs Development Authority last week.

That means JLG and city staff are scheduled to meet July through September for the first phase of a master planning project. During that time, they’re slated to formalize their programming hopes, devise preliminary plans for the building and put together a preferred construction schedule.

That will cost the city an estimated $30,000 from its economic development fund, according to documents supplied to development authority members.

The city bought the building from Forum Communications Company, which owns the Herald, for $2.75 million this spring. City leaders aim to turn the building into a multi-use, multi-tenant facility that contains traditional offices and conference rooms for public and private sector tenants, according to the request for qualifications to which JLG and the other architecture firms responded. The focal point would be “unique 18-hour public spaces” operated by the city, its Growth Fund, Grand Forks Public_ and the University of North Dakota.

Members of the library staff said last month they hope to turn the Herald’s “community room,” where a massive printing press sat until it was destroyed in the 1997 flood, into a “collaboration space” where, perhaps, people can learn to write a business plan, record a podcast, or use software, such as Adobe Photoshop, that’s often out of reach, financially, for young professionals.

A master planning “kickoff” meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. July 16 in the Herald building’s community room.