“Tonight we have the preliminary design completed,” said Borough Manager Scott Hahn. “If there needs to be changes or if there’s issues that need to be brought up, this is a good time to do it.”
Paul Voelckers with Juneau-based MRV Architects, joined the conversation by phone.
“This is the first point where we’ve had a realistic estimate,” said Voelckers. “It’s kind of – and Scott was right to say it’s a good point, if there are issues that we have to work through like parking or other sort of space and organizational issues, this is the right time to raise it. From here on it’s going to start getting quite a bit more technically resolved with engineering systems and that sort of thing and it becomes harder to go back.”
At just over 10,000 square feet, the two-story building includes seven senior apartments and a community center.
The construction costs are estimated at about $4.3 million. Voelckers said the project has a full budget of about $5.6 million.
In 2016, Skagway voters narrowly approved a $6 million senior center bond proposition.
Nola Lamken raised concerns about what she sees as a lack of community input included in the design.
“I feel like there’s been nil input,” said Lamken. “They’ve done their best to stay under the radar. There has not been any community involvement or follow through on the extensive research we did. And surveying what the community wanted in the senior center. There’s no sign of that in the current plan.”
Assemblyman Orion Hanson questioned the number of parking spaces included in the design.
“We’ve got seven units here and eight parking spaces,” said Hanson. “Let’s assume each person has a car. So that’s going to leave one open parking space, and then everyone else is parking on the street.”
“One, I think it’s a fair question,” said Voelckers. “Two, we’ve tried to be reasonable for the type of population because not everyone will have a car. And three, maybe there’s some options that can find a little more, if there’s a consensus that would be a good use of site.”
Assemblyman Steve Burnham Jr. question moving forward without a business plan from the senior committee, a task assigned to the committee by the assembly.
“I feel it’s not appropriate to continue additional planning on this facility without a complete and concise business plan on how we intend to administrate it,” said Burnham. “To begin construction without the business plan, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.”
Burnham said the community should have another chance to weigh in on the current design. Voelckers supported that.
Mayor Monica Carlson said she will meet with the senior committee about the business plan and other ideas brought up at the assembly meeting.
From here, Voelckers said the next set of drawings – the 65 percent design stage – are set to be finished by late January. He said another will be completed about six weeks later, and it should be ready to go out to bid in late April.