Monday, July 21, 2014

Potential Multi-Faceted Community Centre Synopsis

After my column last week, I wanted to give you an overall synapsis regarding recreational and community centre-type needs, wants, and costs and the potential of a multi-faceted community centre.

You will recall that the Town hired LeisurePlan International last summer to develop a market analysis and business case study. After a resident survey, detailed analysis and a comparison to industry standards, LeisurePlan recommended in January that the Town:
• replace the existing single-pad with a new arena facility within the next five years;
• design a new twin-pad facility and phase the construction – build one ice pad first (contingent on capital financing) and construct the second pad after 2023/24 (should the sustaining demand develop);
• provide a multi-purpose facility to accommodate demand for participation in fitness activities, walking/running on an indoor track, and gymnasium sports;
• provide multi-purpose program space;
• not provide an indoor pool due to lack of demand and associated costs;
(For a copy of this LeisurePlan report, please click here. For a copy of their presentation to Council, please click here.)

In April, LeisurePlan presented various options and recommended that the Town build “integrated facilities” – a multi-purpose community complex – for $22 to $27 million. (They estimated that an integrated facility would cost up to $1.1 million less in capital costs than two, stand-alone facilities.) (For a copy of this LeisurePlan report, please click here; for a copy of the LeisurePlan presentation to Council, please click here.)

In May, LeisurePlan projected net operating costs for an integrated facility at $63,715 in the first year, and declining slightly each year for the next four years. (Please click here to review a copy of the LeisurePlan report.) As a comparison, the existing Arena's net operating costs were $64,366 in 2011; $75,477 in 2012; and $92,486 in 2013. (Please click here for a copy of the Staff report.)

Since the estimated costs to operate a multi-faceted community centre is less than the existing arena’s operating loss, Town Staff recommended that the Town could fund the costs to operate a new integrated facility.

In essence, the recommendations say that the community would provide sustaining demand; if we can afford to construct a new multi-faceted community centre, we could afford to operate it.

So, how do we try to make the capital costs for a potential new community centre affordable for local, municipal tax-payers? We need to fundraise and attain financial support from the Federal and Provincial governments.

To do that we will need more detailed plans (design drawings), and tighter cost estimates.

That’s why Council recently appointed community design committee members – with representatives from recreation user groups, youth, seniors, artists, service clubs and the community-at-large. We have also asked for quotes from four, short-listed design firms so we can pick an architect. (To review the Terms of Reference for the Design Committee, please click here.) Here is the list of short-listed four potential architectural design firms.

As I wrote about last week, based on LeisurePlan’s reports, the condition of the existing arena, and imminent developments, Council recently decided to begin design of a potential multi-faceted community centre on the Town-owned lands in the East Fonthill area.

We will continue to keep you informed so we can work together about this very important matter for Pelham.


Architect Chosen -- 15 September 2014 Update:

The Architectural Design Committee, made up of a cross-section of the public, used the Ontario Association of Architects standard criteria to evaluate each Request For Proposal (RFP) Bid and recommend the award to the firm with the highest overall score.

(RFP bids are treated very differently from Tender bids. Tender bids -- like for a bridge or a vehicle -- normally get awarded to the lowest price bid. The awarding of RFPs are not based exclusively on final price, but, rather, on total score and to the firm with the highest score.)

The standard Ontario Association of Architects scoring criteria used: Company Profile 20%; Design Price 20%; Applied Design Philosophies & Methodologies 35%; Time to Complete 10%; Quality of Submission 15%: TOTAL 100%.

After reviewing and interviewing all four submissions (which took at more than 8 hours!), the  volunteer Committee awarded an 89% aggregate score to Petroff Partnership Architects and recommended them to Council for approval.

The $1.05M architectural fee is actually less than the industry’s standard 5% of the facility’s anticipated total construction cost of $22M - $27M.

It is expected to take approximately 6-8 months to complete comprehensive schematic designs and working construction drawings.

Having this shovel-ready design will allow the Town to validate construction costs and to seek Federal and Provincial government investment.

Council agreed to use the $600,000 already allocated in the 2014 budget plus an additional $450,000 from the facilities reserve to complete all aspects of the contract. (Council will be asked to replenish this reserve fund during the 2015 Budget considerations.)