04/13/06 — City eyeing rec center cost

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City eyeing rec center cost

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 13, 2006 1:49 PM

Although the design has changed slightly, a Goldsboro Community Recreation Building is still a possibility for local residents -- as long as city officials can generate the $12 million needed for the project.

Mayor Al King, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steve Hicks and representatives from Raleigh-based PBC&L Architecture joined Recreation Center Committee members for a meeting at City Hall Wednesday to discuss the building's design and to voice any concerns.

PBC&L Project Architect Jennifer Attride said the community recreation building, which would be built between Center and Elm streets on city-owned property, would cost $6.5 million. The inclusion of a canopy-covered pool, furnishing the building and any additional site costs increases the price tag to $12 million for the entire project.

Price continues to be a concern for many of the committee members and city officials.

"The money for this is beyond what I find acceptable based on who I've talked to," committee member Carroll Overton said.

As building dimensions, prices and other numbers were presented to the committee, King also expressed concern about the price.

"We are pricing ourselves to death here," King said. "This is ridiculous."

City Manager Joe Huffman said the city would have to pay about $1 million a year if the project is approved, but the money is not available in the city's current budget. If the City Council wants to continue with the project, he said the city would use every resource to accumulate funding.

"This project is not dead by any means, but we need to look at all of our funding opportunities. We plan to look under every stone. Then, we get all of our revenue options available and go from there," Huffman said.

City Council member Chuck Allen and Huffman said the issue hasn't been discussed among City Council members, but that the group will discuss the design and price in an upcoming meeting. Both agreed a new center would be an asset for the community and downtown Goldsboro.

"If we build it, we want it to be useable, and we want the people to be proud of it," Allen said.

In addition to the price tag, committee members discussed the center's pool, the building's design and bathroom stalls. Since the group's last meeting, Mrs. Attride said she has been able to tighten up the floor plan, but added that the committee still needs to decide how the pool should be covered.

The original plan has the pool facing south behind the gymnasium to allow sun exposure during the summer months. A canopy resembling a bubble over the pool would be removed in the summer and cover the pool during the winter, Mrs. Attride said.

If the committee and city officials choose this design, Goldsboro Family YMCA Chief Executive Officer John Richards said it would cost the city $15,000 a year to cover and uncover the pool.

"The operating cost decreases over time with an enclosed pool," Richards said.

Other issues arising with the pool, Mrs. Attride said, include lighting the area at night, keeping the water warm in the winter and any effects on the pool's chemicals due to change in water temperature.

Inside the recreation center, the committee could use a new building code to save money during construction. The code, taking effect in June, will limit the amount of bathroom stalls necessary throughout the building.

If the recreation center was built today, it would require 43 women's bathroom stalls based on the number of people who could fit inside the structure. The new code limits the amount to 19, Mrs. Attride said.

PBC&L Project Manager Irvin Pearce told the committee he would begin lining up engineers for the project and proceed with plans until he hears differently from the committee. By the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 26 at 11 a.m., he said he would like the finish the building's schematics and move on to the next stage in the project.