This is in response to Mr. Art Baer's letter to the editor in the Nevada Appeal, dated March 7. I would like to point out that Mr. Baer was not in attendance at the meeting Feb. 23 when the motion was made to investigate the option of purchasing an office facility at the Sunridge office park, and the cost associated with that purchase. This, perhaps, accounts for his inaccurate and misleading statements.
We were not in the number one position to receive a grant this year. We were ranked in the number three position. Douglas County staff recommends an order of rank to provide a level of priority to the most needy. For the last two years, we have been turned down on our grant request. Being ranked third this year did not guarantee and most certainly did not give any assurances that we would have been approved this year.
Architect costs were sought to give us an idea of the costs associated with the building of such a facility. Forty-six thousand dollars was budgeted for architectural and engineering needs. Originally, two years ago, the plan was to have the CBDG grant pay for the community center. We were aware that the grant would not pay for the office complex. The architect was directed to split out those costs, since the district would have to pay for the office building separately.
The estimate for a combined facility, with the community center and office, came in around $1.48 million. The costs associated with just building an office complex at the James Lee Park location, according to the architect, were $434,365. Those costs did not include any engineering or contract management which could easily add another $20,000-$30,000 to the total price.
The board needed to know just what the district was getting into before proceeding with any construction plans. The numbers came in much higher than had been originally anticipated or discussed. The potential to find additional funding for such a project became the next challenge.
To deplete our water, sewer, streets and parks funds to finance such a project as was presented by the chairman, vice chairman and general manger of IHGID to the rest of the board was not acceptable. This had not been previously discussed as an option for financing, and came as a complete surprise to the rest of the board. We have many outstanding infrastructure challenges immediate in the district, so to use funds designated to pay for those improvements did and does not seem prudent.
A letter dated Nov. 10, 1999, from Sunridge Corp. to IHGID on a proposal to build a 3,000 square foot building with conference room facility within the Sunridge Office Park located at Highway 395 and Mica Drive.
A lease option was provided, but also the option to purchase. That option price for purchase was $385,000. The price equates to $98.33 per square foot for building improvements and $30 per square foot for building pad, which includes all civil and landscaping improvements. The price included all framing, electrical, plumbing, finishes, storage cabinets, doors, fixtures and interior millwork.
If in the future, the district can choose to sell, lease or rent the property as an owner, as public entities often do, this can be an investment with a potential increase in value, given the nature of growth in the district and surrounding areas. The general manager of IHGID in his staff recommendation to the board dated Nov. 17, 1999, stated, "A decision to delete district offices from the architect's plans at the park may produce enough savings to buy the proposed building rather than lease it."
To proceed with the construction of the community center without adequate funding and preparation is foolish. The services that the community center would provide, as presented to the public in the survey newsletter sent to the residents of IHGID in January, do not exist, nor will they be subsidized by IHGID.
Without the participation of volunteer and county support, those services that included a latchkey program, senior lunch program and various other sports and special interest programs, will not happen! To build the community center without careful review of the amortization, operating and maintenance costs that are involved with such a facility, equates to Indian Hills General Improvement District having a very large $1.48 million white elephant on their hands.
RENEE R. HASKELL
Resident and Trustee of
Indian Hills General Improvement District