Officials hope to select site for multipurpose building this summer

Plans for a multipurpose building in Jefferson City are moving forward, and officials hope to have a site selected for the facility by the end of the summer.

Bill Lockwood, director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry department, said staff still is evaluating potential sites and the field has been narrowed to about three possibilities, though Lockwood did not specify what sites are being considered.

“There are generally three sites that are receiving a higher degree of evaluation than any of the others we’ve looked at,” Lockwood said. “It’s just a matter of working through some of the issues with each one of those to help narrow it down even further.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission will make the final decision on a site selection, he said, based on staff recommendation.

Lockwood said the location ideally would be in “a nice park setting,” with about four to five available acres. He said three acres would be the minimum, but bigger is better as the department would like the option to expand the facility if needed down the road.

“We know we’re not going to be able to afford to build the scale of facility that people from our feasibility study said they would like to have,” Lockwood said. “We’re trying to figure out a long term plan that could possibly be expanded on at a future date.”

When seeking an architectural firm to work with on the project, the facilty was proposed to be 40,000 to 50,000 square feet and capable of hosting multiple athletic game courts, as well as being able to accommodate theater productions, concerts and day camps. The facility would have three to four basketball courts and six to eight volleyball courts, as well as the possibility of having a future phase to incorporate meeting rooms, administrative offices, weight/cardiovascular fitness and aquatic areas.

Earlier this year, the department announced the selection of Hastings & Chivetta, an architectural firm out of St. Louis, for the multipurpose building project. The firm has given the department some guidelines to assist in site selection and drafted “very preliminary” floor plans to give the department an idea of what’s to come, Lockwood said.

“That’s pretty much been the limit of their involvement until we get nailed down more specifically to a site,” Lockwood said. “Then they’ll jump in full force.”

The multipurpose building is expected to cost $6 million, which includes site acquisition, architectural fees and building construction. An earlier draft funding plan for the facility outlined more than $3.6 million from the local park sales tax, $460,695 from capital improvements sales tax E, $1.15 million from the capital improvements sales tax F, and $466,991 from the park fund balance. Additional funds are expected to become available after the department reprioritizes or postpones other capital projects.

Lockwood said once the final site is selected, the process will move into the standard design and construction phase, with the planning and design process estimated to take place within eight or 10 months of selecting the site.

He said though progress is somewhat slow, the department is trying to ensure the project is done right. The department does not expect the facility to be a large revenue generator and Lockwood said he wants to make sure they will be able to sustain the facility’s operations in the long run.

“It’s been a long, drawn out project,” Lockwood said. “For many years, it’s been a goal, but we’re trying to do all of our due diligence and not rush it ... we’re trying to look very long term.”

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