03/02/12 — Officials look at GATEWAY office location

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Officials look at GATEWAY office location

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 2, 2012 1:55 PM

Preliminary findings are in on a feasibility study to determine whether it would be more cost-effective for the GATEWAY administrative offices to remain at their current location at 600 N. Madison Ave., or to move into a new transfer station proposed as part of the Union Station renovation project.

At first blush it does not appear there will be much, if any, difference in operating costs, but it is too premature to talk specific figures, said Terry Jordan, GATEWAY director.

Jordan said he is even waiting to share the information with the GATEWAY board, which requested the study, until he has better and more reliable figures.

GATEWAY is paying $7,500 to Martin/Alexiou/ Bryson, a consulting company that specializes in transportation planning and traffic engineering services, to conduct the study.

At the same time that the study is under way, GATEWAY and Goldsboro officials are continuing to negotiate with Union Station architect David Gall to review the design of the transfer station in an effort to reduce the project's approximately $5 million cost. The cost of the review is not to exceed $20,000.

Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan said GATEWAY and city officials held a recent conference call with Gall so that they could start looking at ways to make modifications and changes to the transfer station.

The call "went well" and the estimates should be ready about the same time the feasibility study is completed, she told the GATEWAY board at its Tuesday morning session.

"One thing that we did separate out when we were looking at the costs was how much of this cost is associated with the building and how much of the costs are associated with the site," she said. "A lot of the work that was included in that original cost estimate has to do with developing additional parking that will be needed to accommodate staff parking.

"That is a little over a $1 million in that $5 million number that you all have. Also, we broke out the cost that shows the contingency that was included in that number and also what it would take for the contractor's overhead. So all of those numbers were in that $5 million figure that was given to the board originally."

Both projects are expected to be completed in time for GATEWAY's March meeting.

Officials hoped the feasibility study would have been completed in February. However, Jordan told GATEWAY board members he had asked the consultants to fine-tune their work.

For example, the initial study did not include the square footage of the existing transfer station with the square footage of the administrative offices when calculating costs, Jordan said.

"Restructuring our transit routes was another part of the question," he added. "Looking at the preliminary numbers it could be very close. I don't want to be vague, but I don't to speak out of turn and they come back with something totally opposite of what I am saying today. But I think it could be very close as far as operating expenses."

As first envisioned, the administrative offices would have remained in their current location or would have rented space in Union Station once it is renovated.

However, the idea now is to include the administrative offices in the new transfer station planned to be built adjacent to Union Station.

The transfer station will have bus slots, a covered opened area, an interior centralized heated and cooled area, a concession area and office, scheduler and ticket seller.

As he did last month, board member and City Councilman Bob Waller said he would like to see the study completed as soon as possible.

He also urged the board to promptly hold a joint session with the Wayne County commissioners and City Council once the study is completed because of pending budget discussions.

New board member Sandy Korschun also asked Jordan if he had heard any more from Amtrak Motor Coach concerning plans for a connector bus to pick up passengers from the current transfer station at 1615 E. Beech St. and then later at the new transfer station. The bus would transport the passengers to the Amtrak stations.

Jordan said he had not.

"I would encourage us to do all that we can with that because that would be the forerunner of probably having rail," Korschun said. "I think that is their logic anyway that it would eventually become rail. I think that would be a big help."