New Seniors Center plans redrawn to fit budget

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

The town of Jonesborough has developed a scaled-back, “value-engineered” design for its new Seniors Center since bids on the building came in more than $2 million over the project’s $2.3 million budget.

The reworked design will be presented for consideration by the Seniors Center Advisory Committee during the group’s meeting at 1 p.m. Monday in the board room at Town Hall. Revised schematic drawings of the building will be available.

Depending on how the committee receives the new design, Town Administrator Bob Browning said the plans could go to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval Monday at 7 p.m.

The original design was developed Ken Ross Architects and approved by the board in March.

The plans called for a two-story brick structure with approximately 22,000 square feet of finished space on the main and lower levels and 7,000 square feet of lower-level space that was to be left unfinished for future expansion.

Amenities were to include a multi-use dining room and commercial kitchen, large and small exercise rooms with showers and locker rooms, an arts and crafts room, a game room, large and small classrooms with a computer lab, a parlor, a lobby and administrative offices.

Of seven bids submitted for construction of the building in July, Rainey Contracting submitted the lowest bid of $4.5 million.

Because the project is being funding through a $2.5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, Browning said the town notified the agency the low bid was “way over budget” soon after their opening.

“RD gave us the choice, either negotiate with the low bidder or redesign and rebid. We chose to negotiate,” Browning said. “We worked with Rainey and with the architect to scale it back. We cut some stuff and we brought it back down to $2.3 million.”

According to Browning, the revised design includes changes to “one small portion” of the building and no real alteration of its exterior appearance.

Additional space on the lower level has been left unfinished and substantial revisions have been made to the building’s mechanical components, including the heating and air conditioning system that was originally bid at $1 million.

“The mechanical was a big part of it,” Browning said.

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