Archive for Thursday, June 12, 2008

Council holds off on 1918 Building renovations

The 1918 Building.

The 1918 Building.

June 12, 2008

The 1918 Building won't be getting an interior facelift anytime soon, but it won't be torn down, either.

Instead, Bonner Springs will put on hold plans to renovate the former high school and junior high building for city office space until adequate funding is on hand. That was the consensus of City Council members during their study session before the regular meeting Monday night.

"It's not a good time to sell it or put a lot of money into to make it into City Hall," said Council member Jeff Harrington during the discussion.

Council member Lloyd Mesmer asked City Manager John Helin and Rita Hoag, city clerk, whether they would be proud to have their offices in the building once it is renovated. Both said yes, and Hoag said the converted building could serve the city's needs to house administrative offices and community space for 25 years, with room to grow.

City staff had estimated the cost for renovating the building to be $4.325 million, which includes a deduction of tax credits for preserving and utilizing a National Historic Register building, worth $1.275 million construction costs of $5.1 million and design and engineering costs of $500,000.

Because the city lacks the required funding, the project will be put on the backburner until the necessary funding is in place. That could mean waiting until the $3.5 million bond for the Aquatic Park is paid off, which is three or four years in the future, Helin said. Then a new bond could be issued with voter approval.

Or, the city could wait and see what Bonner's share of the casino revenue - from whichever Wyandotte County casino proposal is chosen by the state lottery's Gaming Facility Review Board this September - turns out to be. It would be at least 2011, Helin said, before casino revenue would start coming in.

The 1918 Building's space for offices and community activities was estimated to be 30,000 square feet, including a community space of about 10,500 square feet on the bottom floor. Current facilities for city administration and the Police Department are at their limits in accommodating staff duties, a previous report said. The Police Department would move into the current City Hall building when it's vacated, Helin said, though a solution for the Police Department might present itself sooner. That's because Atmos is considering moving out of and subletting the building its offices are in next to the Police Department. If the city could sublease the building, the Police Department's administrative and detective offices could be housed there, Helin said.

Hoag added that input workshops on the design of the building's renovated interior gave employees the opportunity to have a say in its layout. The new building would provide a better lobby and means for security than the current City Hall, Hoag said.

Both Helin and Mayor Clausie Smith said the utilization of the 1918 Building for City Hall meant the city's administration offices could stay in a central location for residents, downtown, and also means the construction of a new building - which would likely mean purchasing property elsewhere, perhaps near Nettleton Avenue and Kansas Highway 7 - won't entail taking any private property off the tax rolls.

In other actions Monday night, the Council:

¢ Approved, 7-0, with Council member Jerry Jarrett was absent, an interlocal agreement with WaterOne, the water utility for Johnson County. The agreement gives Bonner Springs authority to provide water service to a tract of land between the Bonner Springs Industrial Park and Kansas Highway 7, north of 43rd Street.

The agreement was occasioned by the city of Shawnee's pursuit of the land, which has a Bonner Springs water main running through it for another tract. WaterOne has no water main in the immediate area, and the agreement was devised to avoid building redundant infrastructure, Helin said. The agreement doesn't cede any rights of WaterOne to service the area. The board of directors for WaterOne had already approved the agreement.

¢ Approved, 7-0, claims for city operations for $661,461.

¢ Approved, 7-0, Public Housing Authority claims for $854.

¢ Approved, 7-0, the appointments of Norman Maier to the Bonner Beautiful Commission to fill the unexpired term of Renee Slinkard that ends in April 2010, and the reappointments of Tim Daugherty and Carrie Shoptaw to the Convention and Tourism Committee.

¢ Approved, 7-0, the appointments of Wes Mills, Gene Reynolds, Wayne Gray and Tom Stephens to the Marion Vaughn Award Selection Committee.

¢ Saw the presentation of an award from the Bonner Springs VFW Post 6401 to Bonner Springs firefighter to Don Norman.

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