Officials OK multi-purpose athletic center site, design
Carson City officials have approved a conceptual site and building design plan for a Multi-purpose Activity Center adjacent to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, but have held off moving ahead until more definite details are available.
The board of supervisors said they would like a few refinements made to the proposal, including a final projected budget and an updated joint use agreement with the Boys & Girls Club, as well as support from other entities.
“I hate to go down this road and approve another plan until we make sure we have a buy-in from the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau and our lodging properties, and that we have cost recovery expectations,” said Supervisor Shelly Aldean.
“I want to see 100 percent cost recovery and I’m not willing to accept less than 100 percent,” she said.
She said that $113,000 would be needed from room tax.
After reviewing several options for placement of the new center, known as a MAC, the board of supervisors selected Option B, which they believed made the facility more user friendly while preserving enough parking spaces and allowing for future expansion.
Although staff also had recommended approval to hire the former design architect, Brent Tippets of Valentiner Crane in Salt Lake City, the board declined to move ahead with any firm decision on that aspect.
Resident Don Smit objected to the recommendation of using the original design architect.
“The MAC is a very simple structure, rectangular in shape, with few bells and whistles. Why are we still using a firm outside of the state? Carson City has three qualified architectural firms capable of producing the construction documents required for the new MAC,” Smit said.
“City leaders continually urge the community to support the local merchants. However, when given the opportunity, the city has trouble with their own advice. The local architects and engineers voted for Question 18 and support Question 18 with every purchase made through their personal and business expenditures,” he said.
Roger Moellendorf, Parks and Recreation director, called the MAC “a highly specialized facility,” and since Tippets has already completed site work, utilities and landscaping, to use him would save the city in timing and design.
Supervisor John McKenna said the timing is right in today’s market for construction.
“The voters said they wanted a recreation center, so let’s get it done while costs are low. Let’s either scrap it or get it built,” he said.
Supervisor Molly Walt, who also serves on the CCCVB, said the bureau gives $85,000 a year to the city to market athletic tournaments because lodging properties say 90 percent of their business comes from tournaments.
“If tournaments can be brought in during the off season, they would want to see proof, but the conversation needs to start with the CCCVB,” Walt said. “We’ve been discussing the MAC for more than a year, and we need to move forward.”
But Aldean wanted more assurances.
“I have a problem when money is so tight approving this on a lick and a promise,” she said.
Mayor Bob Crowell also said he wanted to see forward movement.
“I don’t know if it’s right to depend on the CCCVB at all,” he said. “We have an obligation to the Boys & Girls Club and to the community.
In his report to the board of supervisors, Moellendorf gave a history of the evolution of the project and explained the benefits of scaling back to a MAC.
In 1996, Carson City voters approved Question 18, the Quality of Life initiative, which set aside 1/4 of one percent to fund the acquisition, development and maintenance of parks, open space, trails and recreation facilities, he said.
An $8 million recreation center was designed in 2008, but while going through the design stage, the economy was slipping into the current recession. The combination of a shortage of funds for construction and the ability to cover the costs of future operation and maintenance would eventually force the city to temporarily step back from the project, Moellendorf said.
Eventually, the department presented a new strategy for an indoor recreation center based primarily on a 2010 public survey. The MAC would consist of two full-sized gyms, an elevated and suspended walking/jogging track, a lobby, restrooms, women’s and men’s locker rooms and a control desk, he said.
The project, Moellendorf said, would be about 34,000 square feet and cost about $4.5 million. The new concept would satisfy the city’s most pressing indoor recreation needs and solve the operating and maintenance concerns since it would be a programmed facility rather than a drop-in, so no additional staff would need to be hired other than part-time custodians.
He said MACs traditionally focus on structured athletic programs such as youth and adult sports leagues and tournaments. Their large size also is ideal for community events such as craft fairs, gun shows, graduation ceremonies and polling sites. They are frequently used as emergency shelters as well.