- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Ward County commissioners are trying to put the brakes on the number and cost of design changes to a $19.2 million office building project.

Extra costs since construction began have surpassed half a million dollars. Many of the new costs are the result of requests from department heads for their new offices, such as bullet-proof glass for the Social Services office, according to architect Don Davison.

“With that comes a price, and that’s where it gets a little bit ugly,” he said.

Another issue is that fire-rated elevator doors were overlooked in the building’s original design. JLG Architects budgeted $700,000 for unexpected changes to the project, but only $20,000 remains in that contingency fund, according to Davison.

Commissioner John Fjeldahl said he is troubled that changes have been made to the project without commission approval.

“People get in trouble doing that,” he said. “The changes that were done should have been talked about.”

That would have further delayed a project that already has had its completion date moved from September to November, Mattson Construction project manager Jerome Gruenberg said.

“This work was done to keep the project going,” he said.

The commission voted Tuesday to reject any further changes not first approved by the group’s chairman.

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