03/09/06 — Community building plan gets first look

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Community building plan gets first look

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on March 9, 2006 1:58 PM

When the Goldsboro Community Building burned down in May 2004, some residents said they wanted to see the structure rebuilt.

A committee of local volunteers and officeholders gathered Wednesday at City Hall to start planning to make that possibility a reality.

"This is a worthwhile project. We want this building to serve the public for the next 50 years," Community Building Foundation Chairman Ed Borden said. "The community building serves a broad purpose, and it could be an anchor for that side of town."

The building had previously been located at the corner of Walnut and William streets.

The proposed new structure would be constructed between Center and Elm streets on city-owned property, City Councilman Chuck Allen said.

The new location would allow more space for the building, committee members said.

On hand to to explain the community building plans to committee members were project manager Irvin Pearce and project architect Jennifer Attride of Raleigh-based PBC&L Architecture.

Pearce said the meeting was an opportunity for him and Mrs. Attride to discuss the project's progress, possible site designs and the construction costs.

The 58,000-square-foot structure is projected to cost about $10.5 million, Pearce said, and some of the costs could be covered through grants.

The community building would include a gym, a pool, a building program, playing fields, a running track and volleyball courts. During the winter, the pool would be covered by a canopy that would be removed during the summer, Mrs. Attride said.

Pearce and Mrs. Attride presented various designs for the building, which included several different configurations of the 300-space parking lot from which the committee will choose.

Some of the designs placed the lot in the front of the building.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Director Julie Thompson said traditional downtown parking lots are located behind the building because a parking lot is not the first thing a customer wants to see.

Allen said a parking lot could look more presentable in the front with landscaping, but each committee member agreed the parking lot would work best on the west side of the building closest to James Street.

This would allow visitors to enter and exit using Elm Street, which would also provide access to U.S. 117, Allen said. With the amount of city-owned land between Center and Elm streets, he said the city could expand on the building in the future.

Pearce said he and Mrs. Attride have developed a timeline for the completion of the community building once the City Council approves the project.

The next City Council meeting is March 20, but Huffman and Allen said an informal meeting could be called before that date.

Pearce said it would take about two months to complete the schematics for the project after the design is approved, with the development of the construction plan requiring another four months. Gathering construction permits will take an additional six months, with conducting the reviews, getting bids and awarding the contract adding an additional four months to the timeline.

After all those conditions have been satisified, the actual construction of the building would be completed in about a year.

Pearce said the time frame could be shorter if needed, and the architects would work to reduce the time required if the City Council approves the project.