COMMENT: Building in Bemidji? Here are the top 3 considerations – Bemidji Pioneer


Do you plan to launch a construction project in the community of Bemidji soon? Do you keep an eye on ongoing local projects?

We all have an important responsibility to be environmental stewards for our communities – and Bemidji’s unique landscape requires a special level of care. From home construction to commercial construction, here are three crucial considerations to discuss and plan for when building in Bemidji.

Preserving and supporting the community

Bemidji – nestled along the Mississippi River – offers a variety of culture, history and diversity in the community.

Preserving what makes Bemidji special is important when considering new commercial and non-commercial construction projects. Every project must begin by listening to the community in order to identify and address an unmet need of residents.

Information sessions, meet and greet events and other local events are a great way for general contractors to understand the community and its needs and, in turn, gain local support and funding. and state.

The Bemidji Veterans’ Home, for example, which is slated to open in the summer of 2023, took a decade to review, approve and build, as the team dedicated itself to listening to the community to create a wave of support and to design a place unique to their needs.

Contractors can also give back to the local community during construction. Adolfson and Peterson Construction, the general contractor for the Veterans Home, specifically employed locals on the project – approximately 70% of the project’s subcontractors are from northern Minnesota.

Protecting the Sources of the Mississippi

Bemidji is the headwaters of the Mississippi and therefore has the responsibility of protecting one of the world’s major river systems. Contractors, architects, engineers, and owners should team up early to survey a building’s location and write a stormwater pollution prevention plan.

The contractor and civil engineers will then work with the state to ensure the plan meets stormwater guidelines and stormwater pollution prevention to protect our natural resources, including cleaning and drainage of runoff water.

The SWPPP is implemented through best management practices to prevent or reduce pollution at source and help achieve water quality objectives. Don’t worry, it’s not a one-time effort. The plan is constantly evaluated throughout the project, evolving to ensure the BMPs are in place, particularly after significant rainfall or weather conditions.

Prioritize sustainable practices

Sustainable building materials and practices are key to reducing carbon impact by producing less waste and prefabricating projects during and after projects.

Contractors should favor environmentally friendly and regenerative materials, such as brick, bamboo, and reclaimed or recycled materials. Examples of sustainable construction include producing less waste, using prefabricated projects, or improving building practices.

The Bemidji Veterans Home uses geothermal heating and cooling systems, a sustainable practice with the potential to reduce the buildings energy footprint and environmental impact.

Geothermal systems eliminate on-site fossil fuel combustion and offer the highest efficiency among other HVAC options. Geothermal systems are reliable and efficient year-round because underground temperatures are more stable than outdoor temperatures, even in Minnesota.

A simpler sustainability practice for home construction is to incorporate reclaimed materials into your building and design. This not only adds character, but also decreases the demand for newly purchased lumber and helps curb deforestation.

If you want to take advantage of salvaged wood or materials, find a local expert comfortable working with salvaged materials to provide sources and recommendations.

Bemidji, the first city in Mississippi, is surrounded by lakes, forests and everything in between. It is our responsibility as residents and entrepreneurs to maintain the beauty of Bemidji and to build it for a strong and healthy future.

The construction industry can leverage alternatives to positively impact and protect the environment today, tomorrow and into the future. Partnering early and often with the local community and the right experts can educate and empower everyone to put the needs of the community and the environment first.

Looking for a commercial construction partner familiar with the Bemidji landscape? Visit

or contact me.

Ben Bowman is senior project manager at Adolfson and Peterson Construction. He can be reached at

[email protected]


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