YORK – Before the York City Council this past week was to be a vote on whether or not the city would be signing off on a notice of intent with a project manager regarding extensive work at the city auditorium and the community center.
The letter of intent would essentially kick start the project with Trane being the project manager, taking sub-contractor bids after a third-party engineer reviewed the plans.
Previously the focus had been on the auditorium for work at this time – but the recognition of major issues at the community center has been in existence for a number of years.
While many have witnesses and voiced the fact that both aging facilities need extensive work, there are now concerns about whether funds will exist to pay for it due to the COVID-19 situation. The city received a $562,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development last week to be used for the auditorium. More grant applications are in the works. And the discussed plans had been to use LB 357 funds (generated by the city’s extra half-percent sales tax) to pay back a 20-year bond issue to do the work on both facilities. The question raised by council members was whether or not the COVID-19 disruption to the local economy will cut back those sales tax receipts to the point not enough comes in to pay for it.
The work is extensive and would carry a total estimated cost of just over $6.2 million (to restore and repair both facilities).
There was also concern about this past week’s meeting being the first online meeting held by the council. Members of the public were able to watch the meeting via Zoom – but it still was not a live and in-person meeting as has always otherwise been held.
Trane is proposing an energy conservation project for the city auditorium (which was built in 1940) that will “repair the building envelope, replace failing HVAC systems, upgrade the life safety systems to meet code standards and modernize selected interior areas.”
The anticipated implementation costs of such a project at the auditorium are broken down in this way, with these estimates:
• Building envelope repairs, $800,000
• HVAC replacement, $1,750,000
• Interior renovations, lights and ceilings, $500,000
• Restroom and locker room remodel project, $300,000
• Life safety code requirements, $950,000
• Total: $4,300,000
Trane is proposing an energy conservation project for the community center (which was built in 1963) that will replace the failing HVAC and pool filtration systems.
The anticipated implementation costs of such a project at the community center are broken down in this way, with these estimates:
• HVAC replacement, $750,000
• Pool mechanical systems, $1,000,000
• Life safety code requirements, $75,000
• Interior renovations/lights, $50,000
• Total: $1,875,000
And for both, there are asbestos abatement project(s) with an estimated cost of $50,000.
That comes to a proposed total guaranteed maximum price of $6,225,000 – for both projects.
The scope of work is vast for both facilities, as laid out in documents provided to the city council.
For the auditorium, the window work would include “determining if asbestos glazing or lead paint exists and abating as necessary; demolitioning existing metal frames and glass to expose rough openings; installing new thermally broken aluminum frame commercial window systems; glazing insulated glass with simulated divided lights to match the existing; and the interior wood trim would remain in place.”
For the auditorium’s roofing work: “tearing off all layers of existing roofing down to the original roof deck; replacing any rotted or defective wood decking with new; installing tapered insulation, sloped water crickets and metal flashing as necessary for proper water management; mechanically fastening fiberboard underlayment on top of insulation; installing full adhered EPDM rubber roofing system on top of fiberboard underlayment; performing third party inspections to verify all seams, flashings, and terminations are properly installed to guarantee long system life.”
When it comes to the auditorium’s HVAC work: “removing all cooling coils, piping and accessories; removing existing condensing units located outside on grade, exterior piping and accessories; removing all electrical connections back to main panels, saving breakers/switches for use in new work; removing all ductwork in mechanical room; removing existing supply and return fans; removing fresh air intake and seal roof opening; removing existing relief louvers on the west side of the roof and seal; removing existing hot water boiler and circulating pumps; and removing ductwork serving main arena and seating areas.” Then would come the installation of new foot mounted units on new roof, routing electrical power from existing panels to new units, routing gas line from meter up exterior wall to new units, installing new spiral supply ductwork in exposed attic space to serve arena and seating areas, capping new duct riser, installing new registers and grills and installing new controls.
A long list of this type of work exists for the main auditorium, the lower level and the children’s museum.
And then in the lower level mechanical room, it would be needed to install two new high efficiency gas fired hot water boilers, new hot water circulating pumps and new controls for better energy management and temperature control.
And the list for the auditorium continues for “safety scope of work.” This would include installing a new fire sprinkler system, installing a new fire alarm system, demolitioning and removing kitchen fume hoods and gas appliances, modifying the stairs and handrails to meet life safety code requirements; replacing all doors and hardware to meet fire code requirements; and installing a new emergency lighting system to meet safety code.
For interior work at the auditorium, the list includes: renovating all light fixtures to use LED lamps and bulbs, renovating arena ceilings to expose attic space; renovating public bathrooms with new fixtures, wall and floor finishes; and renovating locker rooms with new fixtures, walls and floor finishes.
The community center’s scope of work is long and extensive as well.
Regarding the community center’s HVAC work, it would include replacing the hot water boiler used for heating, with demolition of the existing boiler, pumps, piping and controls and then installing two new high efficiency gas hot water boilers and pumps. It would also include replacing the air handling units, which serve all the occupied areas.
When it comes to the community center’s swimming pool, it would include replacing the pool air and water filtration systems. This means demolition existing filtration systems, pumps and piping, installing a new filtration system, modifying the chemical room and other areas to house new equipment, etc. The work would also include replacing the pool heater and the domestic hot water boiler with new gas fired high efficiency heaters.
The “life safety” scope of work at the community center would include the installation of a new fire sprinkler system, the installation of a new emergency lighting system and adding a second egress exit to the gym.
As far as the interior of the community, the work would include renovating all light fixtures to use LED lamps and bulbs.
While the matter before the council was signing off on a letter of intent with Trane – it was recognized that this would inherently be the first step toward starting work on both of those aging facilities.
“In talking to several council members, I’ve heard we should table this several weeks to let people think about this,” said Mayor Barry Redfern during that council meeting. “The response (from the community) since last summer has been move ahead with this and the community seems to be unanimous to move forward. It is terrific news that we got the grant for the auditorium. We asked for companies to respond and Trane was the one company that came back. It is very extensive, what needs to be done, in order for these buildings to exist and be used for the next 40-50 years. I realize, however, that this is a very difficult time so maybe we can take some time to absorb all this.
“While Trane was here, they looked at the community center as well, and it needs work, we all know,” Mayor Redfern continued. “It is a good building but the operational systems have failed. There will come a time that the building will no longer be useful. I feel my job is to save our current city facilities – and it would cost tens of millions of dollars to replace these facilities. The community has already said they want to save the auditorium.
“I talked with Trane today and they said these are good faith estimates, they are good for now, but not forever,” Mayor Redfern continued. “But this contract would say they couldn’t go over those totals. Both things are out there. Everyone knows my position – I think this work is important and we shouldn’t wait even if these are uncertain times. These projects would put local people to work and preserve very valuable assets.”
“It is important not to kick this can down the road,” said Councilman Ron Saathoff. “The public has said this is what we want to do and we will need to handle this, take a vote on this at our next meeting.”
“The constituents have said they are ready to go ahead,” said Council member Sheila Hubbard, noting a continuance at this time was warranted but a two-week time period would be sufficient.
“I think waiting two weeks is appropriate,” said Councilman Ron Mogul. “It’s very important to note this grew from $2-$6 million (from an earlier estimate to the new estimate with the inclusion of the community center). I’m in favor of repairing both but we need to be transparent and this matter needs to be in the public, and to be discussed for another two weeks is appropriate.”
Mogul asked if some of the scope of work could be pared down. Mayor Redfern said paring back could maybe be done in the locker room areas – but the rest were critical needs and the fire marshal requirements are requirements.
Mayor Redfern said officials continue to look for donations, contributions, grants, “any chance, any source we can find to knock down the city’s cost further. The $562,000 grant sure helps.”
Council member Christi Lones asked if there was any way to make sure a certain percentage of labor for these projects would come from York.
“We have a Trane dealer in town, that’s how that company got involved,” Mayor Redfern said. “We are sure hoping that local companies will get involved and I hope we have as many as possible.”
“Yes, I hope we can get as many as we can from our own community,” Lones responded.
“We will continue to get the information out and please, everyone, please questions,” Mayor Redfern said.
All the council members voted to table the matter.