January 13, 2011 |

Assembly OKs study of rec use; MRV to conduct local interviews

The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday authorized $14,442 for MRV Architects of Juneau to measure the potential use of a community recreation center proposed for the old elementary gymnasium.

MRV also will "provide assistance with planning, programming, and conceptual design" for the portion of the building that last year was spared from demolition.

A public meeting to explain the project will be held Friday, Feb. 4, with interviews with potential users set for the following day.

"What goes on in a center of a town is indicative of what goes on in that town," resident Joe Parnell said during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting. "If we have something going on there that is healthy and active and engaged and people are doing stuff, then it will seem like our town is healthy and active and doing stuff, as opposed to just being a boarded up building where nothing is happening."

Borough facilities director Brad Maynard has said the "programming" portion of the MRV project would involve looking "at every single user group that may be wanting to use the building, and then you do an interview with them and understand how much area they need, how often they would use it, what amenities they would need and you basically look at how all the groups would interact in that building."

According to the resolution, MRV’s "space study project will also include the existing borough administration building because of the option of moving the borough offices to the old school building."

Capital improvement project engineering money will pay for the study, which will determine the "economics for reconstruction." The assembly then would make a decision on whether to proceed with renovations.

Tuesday’s resolution passed 4-1, with member Scott Rossman opposed and Daymond Hoffman absent. There was no assembly discussion of the proposal before the vote, but resident Bill Kurz had advised the borough to consider constructing a new facility. Kurz said plans he had drawn featured a full-size regulation gymnasium, fitness center and assembly chambers.

"With the new construction, you can make it the way you want, to cover all the things you need," Kurz said. "I think you can get the money for a new building a lot easier than you can get the money to rehab a building."

A February 2010 MRV report for an "indoor wellness/activity center" to be located in the old elementary gymnasium and adjoining classroom space put the estimated cost at about $3.3 million, in 2010 dollars.

The report concluded upgrades could be "roughly 40 percent of the cost of comparable new construction" for the facility of approximately 17,000 square feet. The current structure is a 6,000-square-foot gymnasium, plus classrooms, hallways and support space on two floors.

Tuesday’s meeting packet included information from Corey Wall, project manager for MRV, to explain the next steps. Wall noted the $14,442 proposal "includes MRV personnel flying to Haines for the initial meeting and interviews."

"The proposal assumes that we will develop 2-3 conceptual options based on the programming information we get during the initial visit and meetings," Wall wrote.

Those options will be "refined" and narrowed to one concept, with an architect’s cost estimate, Wall wrote.

In an e-mail to MRV, Maynard said he would like programming done by mid-February.