Southlake begins designing community recreation center

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Estimated Community Center Project Timeline August 2013: Design starts on phase one and schematics of phase two August 2014: Construction on phase one beings May 2015: Election for using part of Crime Control and Prevention District to fund phase two August 2015: If funding passes, design on phase two begins. September 2015: The community space and senior center wing are completed September 2016: Construction on phase two begins December 2017: Fitness, recreation and aquatics portion of community center completed Source: City of Southlake

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The City Council does not want to gamble with taxpayers’ money when it comes to the Community Recreation Center project.

At the Aug. 6 City Council meeting, Council members voted to split the design of the Center into two phases.

Under the new plan, the city will spend an estimated $1,623,675 for Denver-based Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture to design the first phase of the rec center, which includes community rooms, a senior center and the schematics for the second phase.

In August 2015, the Council will spend $1,786,854 to complete the design of phase two, which includes recreation, fitness and aquatic amenities.

The second phase will not begin unless voters approve the plan.

“We want to make sure as we go down this road that we are being as prudent with the dollars when we spend those dollars as we can be,” said Mayor John Terrell.

The city has the funds to pay for phase one which is estimated at $10,734,678 and has a September 2015 completion date.

Voters will be asked in a May 2015 election to decide if the second phase of the project should be paid for using money from the Crime Control Prevention District fund.

While 2010-2011 surveys show that residents would be willing to pay for a recreation center, Councilwoman Carolyn Morris said it’s harder to commit to something when actual dollars come into play.

“We took a survey and based a lot on that,” she said. “As everyone knows, that’s a few years ago and when we get down to May they might choose to vote another way.”

The Crime Control Prevention District uses a half-cent sales tax to pay for public safety programs. The fund is being used to pay for increasing the number of School Resource Officers on all campuses this year.

The city hopes to have the recreation center complete by December 2017.

Last week, the staff scrambled to create a plan that the City Council would approve.

During a June work session, City Council directed staff to design all of the center in one step.

This would have allowed the projected to be completed by November 2016.

When some Council members saw the $3.2 million price tag for the design, sticker shock set in.

“One of the shocks was to see this $3 million just for design,” Councilwoman Pamela Muller said. “When you start seeing things in black and white right in front of you, for myself it was something I had not expected. It was quite a shock.”

Community Services Director Chris Tribble showed that the cost of the design was in line by using past and neighboring cities’ projects.

The year delay in the project will result in an estimated increase of $1,738,626 for a total of $46,336,626.

Councilman Randy Williamson said he prefers the increase over gambling on an election.

“The number we’re looking at is $1.7 [million] because if we approve all this now and go with Option A [the original plan] then we’re up fronting $1.7 million worth of design fees before the election,” he said. “We’re betting on the approval by the voters.”

Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dustindangli

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