The motion to approve the needs assessment during the April 17 meeting included the stipulation that the report from Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects does not tether the city to any financial obligations.
“What’s important to realize is that this is just an initial step,” said Alderman Gavin Massingill, adding he would like to get community buy-in on any project council moves forward with.
City Council hired the firm Brinkley Sargent Wiginton last year to provide a needs assessment for Rollingwood’s two municipal buildings on Nixon Drive. A final draft shows the cost of two choices. Option 1A comes in at $4.96 million, and option 2A totals $4.92 million.
Don Greer, principal architect at Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects, presented the needs assessment to council.
“When we looked at the pricing on this, we tried to look at everything the city would incur,” Greer said. “The bottom line is that between options 1A and 2A there really isn’t much difference at all [in terms of cost]. So, in a good way, it comes down to a choice by the council.”
The report states that the November 2019 election date to seek a bond to pay for the project is the best option based on project estimates. The date also provides enough time to consider other city-related needs for possible inclusion on the ballot.
Should ideal bond election timeframes pan out, the report estimates a completion period of March 2022 for option 1A and October 2021 for option 2A.
The need for new buildings stems mostly from space issues coupled with the discovery of mold in 2017 that forced the Rollingwood Police Department into a trailer behind City Hall.
“Despite multiple renovations and additions to City Hall, the space shortage has evolved into an acute problem,” states the report, citing a near doubling of the city’s population since 1974 from almost 800 to now more than 1,550 residents. “Additionally, the City Hall is showing its age and is nearing the end of its ability to efficiently house the various city departments, prompting the need to weigh continued investment in a 45-year-old structure against other options.”
The report tallies the spatial needs at 5,893 square feet for City Hall and 1,783 square feet for the police department building. Currently, both buildings together top out at about 3,780 square feet.
Since Rollingwood is not likely to increase significantly in population for the foreseeable future, the report states, that space allocation should be sufficient for city staffing needs at least up to the year 2038.
Massingill said even though no decision has been made regarding the needs assessment beyond the vote to approve it Wednesday, he is glad to have it completed.
"With this better understanding and professional long-term analysis of our facilities needs, we are now prepared to educate and seek input from the community to determine what our next steps should be," he said.