FARGO — Downtown Fargo's bus depot project has been downsized to match available funding.

Assistant City Administrator Mike Redlinger told the City Commission this week that the construction, which will also include improvements to the underground 185-vehicle parking garage, would involve delaying planned exterior work on what's called the Ground Transportation Center for two years to cut the project cost by almost $1 million.

The above-ground project is now estimated at $2.3 million, with work to focus on the building's interior to provide more space and a safer atmosphere for bus riders and the employees.

Redlinger said the engineering firm working on the project said about 70% of the space in the current bus depot is ineffectively being used.

The project also involves improving Jefferson Bus Lines' ticketing and office area, estimated at about $135,000, which they will pay for themselves.

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The regional bus carrier moved this past year to the downtown depot after moving around to several different locations around the metro in past years.

Federal transit grant money funneled through the state will be used to pay for $1.8 million of the bus depot renovation, with an estimated $470,000 in city funds.

The below-ground phase of the project, estimated at about $880,000, will involve "dewatering" the underground garage by installing drain tile around the perimeter, according to Redlinger.

Repairs will be made to a support beam in the underground garage and to the concrete walls, where stains from water leakage can be seen. An in-depth study was recently conducted to assess structural and safety issues. The report was better than expected, but the drain tile was recommended.

Money from a Tax Increment Financing district that is ending this year in that area and from the city's parking repair and replacement fund will finance the underground work.

Redlinger said exterior work on the building and improvements to the bus parking area may be done in 2022 when more funding is available.

Final design work on the project will occur in the coming few months, with a bid opening scheduled for January and construction to begin in the spring. The Fargo City Commission approved the new plan at its meeting Monday night. Work was originally scheduled to be done on the building this year.