Remodel on suite level at Grand Forks Alerus Center underway
The hope is to finish the entire remodel by late fall, in time for UND football games
GRAND FORKS – A remodel on the Happy Harry’s Suite Level in the Alerus Center is currently underway.
The project entails painting the suite-level corridor, refinishing the suite-level elevator cab and building five additional suites.
Derek Hoffert, the Alerus Center's assistant general manager/director of global partnerships, said work is being done on two suites at a time. So far, two suites of the 14 have been demolished, painted and are awaiting flooring and furnishings to be installed.
Work on the first two suites started in February and is anticipated to wrap up in time for the PBR Pendelton Whisky Velocity Tour on April 15. Once those two suites are finished, guests will be able to use them as the remodel continues on the rest of the suites.
Hoffert said the Alerus Center has been working with suite holders to find alternative seating during the project, whether that's in other suites on the upper level or in general seating. Working on two suites at a time also makes it more flexible to find alternative seating.
"That's why we chose to do that rather than knocking the entire suite level out at once," Hoffert said. "We're hoping to mitigate as little impact as possible. We're trying to be strategic around events."
There will be a pause on the remodel project between the PBR event and The Toughest Monster Truck Tour on April 22.
Hoffert said the entire remodel is projected to be finished by the fall in time for UND football games. However, he said, it's still too early to declare a definitive completion date.
So far, there haven’t been major setbacks to the project. While work on the first two suites is going a little slower, Hoffert said once all the materials are on site, remodeling on the rest of the suites will move faster.
Hoffert said the number of people using the suites has increased, a trend that started just before the pandemic, and has prompted the demand for additional seating. Refreshing the suite level was needed, he said, since the remodel is the first major renovation the suites have received in the city-owned facility’s history.
“As with anything, you want to get on it before it becomes necessary,” he said. “If people are noticing it’s looking old and tired, it’s too late. You want to get on it early. I think we’re right in the middle of that. I think there were definitely things that looked like they needed replacing, but with the amount of concerts we’ve been doing, the demand that we’ve had, they needed a refresh.”
In January, members of the Events Center Commission awarded the project to Diversified Contractors, the lowest of three contractors that submitted a bid, in the amount of $1,331,800. Of the three bids, all are under the budget of $1.47 million, though Diversified Contractors was the only contractor that bid on making refinements to the suite level elevator cab.
Funding for the renovation is coming from the Alerus Center’s long-term capital budget, which is funded through a city sales tax. Of that, the three-quarters-of-a-cent tax is dedicated to fund payment of bonds for the construction and capital needs on the facility.
Overall, Hoffert said staff and guests are excited to see the finished suites.
“Everyone is very excited especially now that it’s actually coming to life with work being done,” he said. “It’s actually becoming much more real rather than the renderings and drawings.”