Advisory Board reviews concepts, costs

FAIRMONT– The Community Center Advisory Board on Wednesday reviewed several concept designs and rough cost estimates for the proposed community center.

Four different concepts were shown. One included all “want” aspects including YMCA portions and an ice arena. Another concept showed ice rink only and another YMCA only. Cost estimates were also shared regarding renovations for the existing ice arena.

Tom Betti of 292 Design Group, the architecture leading the programming and design for the proposed community center, said, “we’re all aware that this whole complete community center project with a YMCA and ice portion is above and beyond dollars we have available.”

However, he said it’s very common and that a lot of communities they work with can’t afford everything up front.

“So you look at, how can this building grow as the community grows,” Betti said.

For the full concept which included everything, Betti said they worked in conjunction with the YMCA and used a model of theirs called a 40,000 sq. ft. model to size all of the components. With that, they modified it slightly and made a smaller fitness area using feedback from the advisory board.

The facility included both aquatics and ice as well as fitness rooms, locker rooms, storage rooms, meeting rooms, restrooms, a gymnasium with a walking track and child watch. Associated with ice, the designs included bleachers that seat 430, office rooms, dry team rooms, wet team rooms, coaches rooms and storage.

As of now, that facility would be about 86,000 sq. ft., roughly 45,800 for the YMCA portion and 41,300 for the ice arena area. The full facility would cost about $45.9 million.

Designs were also shown for a YMCA only facility. Betti said they tried to watch the number of square footage for the smaller facility because square feet equates to dollars. For the ice only design, Betti said they’re still working on it but he shared some rough details with the board.

“We do not have a drawing of the renovation proposal to the existing rink. It’s really a lot of mechanical upgrades that were looking at for first pass,” Betti said.

Three different ideas were shared for renovating the existing ice arena. One involved ripping up the existing floor and redoing all of the piping underneath and putting down a new ice rink floor. Another involved a dehumidification of the space to allow for longer use of the facility. A final idea is to give it a whole new makeover and put on a new roof, remodel locker rooms and install an HVAC system so the space is climate controlled throughout the year.

The board asked questions regarding how long each different renovation would take place and what time of the year it would need to be done.

Brock Erickson with Kraus-Anderson shared a few cost estimates for the different concepts. The YMCA only facility is current coming in at about $25 million and the ice only facility is coming in at around $24 million. The range for renovating the existing ice arena is between $1.5 million for just updating mechanics, up to $11 million for a whole new makeover.

Reynolds said they didn’t have the operating costs yet from the Hockey Association or YMCA but she was expecting them soon.

“I’ve sent the design team back to the drawing board once because the costs were up

and I wanted to try to get them a little tighter. They went back to the drawing board… but we’re not at the $20 million mark. Without starting to look at taking off pieces, I don’t know that there’s many more efficiencies that we can tell the design team to go back and find,” Reynolds said.

She asked the advisory board whether they wanted to move forward with what they have or send it back to the design team to find more efficiencies.

“Without the operational input from both facilities, we’re close enough where I feel like I’m not comfortable cutting something without their involvement,” said Board Member Mike Edman.

Board Member Brandon Edmundson pointed out that the entities likely don’t want to do a pro forma on a facility that’s not there.

He asked Dick Strassburg of Tegra, the city’s owner’s representative on the project, whether they can shrink the facility anymore.

“If the YMCA says this is the smallest Y footprint that will make sense for them to run the program and the operation as they want, then is there anywhere else to cut expense out of this to get it down? If the answer is yes I think we need to do that. If the answer is no, then let’s go,” Edmundson said.

Strassburg said the operating model and the cost model go hand in hand. He said their recommendation is to get the cost model from both the YMCA and the Hockey Association and then sit down and figure out where they can make cuts.

“At this point we really need to see the operating model,” Strassburg said.

Edman asked whether it would be possible to shave off square footage from any area, but said he didn’t want to cut off anything that’s necessary to make the space operational.

“We don’t want to direct the architects to start wiping things out… take the room you’re all in right now. Can you shrink it 10 percent and still have it meet its needs?” Strassburg said.

He said some rooms can be cut while others can’t.

The board made a motion to pass the concept designs to both the YMCA and the Hockey Association for further discussion on pro forma.

A community open house is set for Nov. 2. It will take place in the commons area inside the Southern Minnesota Education Campus (SMEC). Feedback received at the open house will go to a joint work session between the advisory board, Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation, YMCA and Hockey Association, which will take place on Nov. 9.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.65/week.

Subscribe Today