September 24, 2012
By Juley Harvey
It's off to the races for the stall barns. The Estes Park Town Board took a giant step and a four-legged approach to replacing the declining horse stall barns at the Stanley Fairgrounds, at their Tuesday work session. They directed the design team of Norris Design, Priefert Complex Designs and O'Bryan Partnership to proceed with schematic drawings for a basic stall barn design that could allow for add-ons at a later date, allow for alternative items that contractors could incorporate into their bids, and also simultaneously planning for a multi-purpose events center (MPEC) at the fairgrounds and a pro forma for that, as well.
Director of Public Works Scott Zurn spurred the decision, saying if the board didn't provide direction to the designers on Tuesday, it was unlikely they could then meet the projected goal of delivery of the project by May 15, 2013.
"If you can't make a decision tonight," Zurn said, "I'm nervous about a May delivery."
After many questions on specifics -- especially concerning what a basic stall barn includes, what we absolutely need and the cost for add-ons, the trustees concluded there is a sense of urgency for the project and sent it galloping ahead to schematic design. However, they decided that the stall barns should not be on the fast-track alone, and that the MPEC and its pro forma should also be simultaneously considered.
Zurn said Tuesday's meeting was to help establish the fiscal constraints for the construction part of the process. Trustees were reluctant to do that without more information, which they feel will be provided with the schematic drawings. Zurn said that, at the previous work session, trustees had decided on the concept they preferred -- the basic stall barns, without restrooms -- heard about the program development and site plan and instructed the design team to move ahead to the next step.
Now, Zurn said, trustees could consider the cost, of constructing either a basic utility stall barn and/or a piecemeal add-on project for the future. He told the trustees he hoped the outcome of this meeting would be to provide the design team with instructions on moving forward with the preliminary and schematics designs.
"Is this too much building, or just right?" he asked trustees.
Mayor pro tem Eric Blackhurst said the design team should move ahead with the basic stall barn design, while also preparing to take construction bids on the MPEC. Then, he said, town finance officer Steve McFarland could instruct trustees on what is appropriate. Trustee Ron Norris said the board needs to understand what the minimum cost for a structurally sound, basic stall barn building will be, and then what the add-ons will cost.
, principal in charge at Norris Design, said that $1.9 million would provide a shell design, built to code, for upgrades, restrooms added at a later date. That is, basically, a shell to house animals. To add people into the mix, the restrooms would have to be added.
Trustee John Ericson said, that with all the competing demands for infrastructure dollars the trustees must consider, they needed to see financial information on all aspects of the building. The restrooms, for instance, are a "big deal" and "pricey," according to planners, which could add another $247,000 in fixtures and tap fees to the basic $1.9-million pricetag.
Planners emphasized all the amenities don't have to be added at the same time, and Zurn said that the construction of the parking lot at the fairgrounds last year provided a new water line that runs from 4th Street to Manford Avenue. The water main is in and ready to go, he said, as is the power. Norris said that puts us in better shape than he'd realized.
Zurn said they had much room in which to maneuver, with a contingency fee built in, and that construction bids could actually come in lower than expected. It's important the trustees have a design in mind, though, because they wouldn't want to release the design team to do a design and then say that's not what they wanted. They would, then, have to pay again for another design.
"To go backward is expensive," he said.
To instruct the design team to go forward with schematics on a building and construction drawings for bidding for a building the town can afford is important now, he added.
Norris added he doesn't think we need to "fancy up a stall barn." However, he rethought his opinion after Blackhurst explained that the previous board's architectural design at the Stanley Fairgrounds is for a "first-class facility." That includes accents such as masonry, form work and color design, Blackhurst said.
"I look at cost per square foot," Blackhurst said.
The work planned on the stall barns comes to about $96.48 a square foot, which he called "really inexpensive construction." However, he agreed with the rest of the trustees that they needed the final numbers to bid the job out and to make a final decision.
Mayor Bill Pinkham said that the project at the fairgrounds needs to "be attractive, so people want to come, because we're in a very competitive economy. Keep that in mind."
Asked how much time construction would take, designers said that it would be about four to five months, with the delivery goal of May 15.
Trustees liked that goal, saying, "Design away!"
To see the Phase 1 plan graphic completed by Norris Design, click here