At its Jan. 21 meeting in Sauk Centre, the Sauk River Watershed District Board voted 7-2 to proceed with a $1.9 million office project.

Board managers Lee Bautch from Stearns County and Emily Wolf from Douglas County voted against it.

Those within the district will be assessed the cost. Property owners with a house valued at $250,000 will pay an estimated $3.99 per year for 17 years toward the project, according to an example provided by Scott Henderson, SRWD administrator

The watershed district has been operating out of its current Sauk Centre location, a converted medical clinic, since 1994. It’s grown from three employees who supervised the management of two drainage systems to having six different departments, a core staff of seven, summer interns, three vehicles, watercraft and other equipment that is stored off-site, according to Henderson.

Board members formed a building committee in June of 2017 and finalized a building design in June 2019.

The district looked at existing spaces available around the area and specifically Sauk Centre at the time, but nothing was found that suited the needs of the district and that’s why a new building design was started, according to Henderson.

Bidding on the project is done, Henderson said. The construction management company has lined up the sub-contractors.

The next step is to finalize the bond financing, which is expected to take place the board’s next meeting on Feb. 18 in Sauk Centre.

Construction is expected to begin on April 1, 2020.