Fenton Has New Architect for Approximately $600,000 in Community Center Improvements
Council, administrators, frustrated with pace of previous architect.
Fenton has a new architect for its efforts to improve the Fenton Community and Cultural Center.
Frustrated with what they say is slow progress from another architect, Fenton City Council hired Lindhout and Associates, of Brighton, for costs not to exceed $43,360.
The project budget is approximately $600,000, including $320,000 for developing a service core, said Assistant City Manager/Downtown Development Authority Director Michael Burns. The service core is the first phase of the project and will provide a gateway to the building and a handicap-accessible elevator.
Completing the project in a timely manner is of the essence, since Fenton has received $62,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money for the elevator, he said. This part of the project needs to be done around April 30, 2012.
The project includes the elevator, elevator equipment, toilet rooms, stairs and mechanical support, Lindhout and Associates' proposal states.
In addition, the $600,000 budget includes $280,000 for an expansion the Community Center Board of Governors is planning. This $280,000 is from contributions Bob Burek and Pat Lockwood collected for an expansion, Mayor Sue Osborn said.
The architect's proposal says the size of this multi-purpose room will be based on the available budget. Osborn said more people might contribute donations, once they see something physical taking place with the addition.
Lindhout's proposal was $45,900, or 8.5 percent of the project cost, originally, Burns said. When asked whether the firm could lower the fee to 8 percent, Piet Lindhout agreed to 8 percent, or $43,360. If Lindhout and Associates completes the phases of the current project in a timely manner, the Community Center Restoration Committee would like the firm to be the architect for the entire community center project, including restoration.
Councilman Tim Faricy said the current project is $600,000, with more work coming, for a possible $1.1 million to $1.5 million. It's the city's money, and he wants to know more about the kind of sustainability and revenue the community center has generated over past decades, or even last year, Faricy said.
Osborn said the vote council took Monday was for architectural services to make the center handicap accessible and add onto it.
Faricy, who voted against it, said he believes the vote is preliminary to finding out about the community center's sustainability, accountability of the Fenton Community Center Board of Governors, and informing the Rackham Foundation, which brought the community center to Fenton.
Councilwoman Cheryl King said she knows the elevator has to be done. She agrees with Faricy that city officials need to have more oversight of the community center.
Osborn said it will come back to council for discussion.
Mayor Pro Tem John Rauch said the building needs the service core and handicap-accessible restrooms, or the city "may as well close the door. It's just not the way it should be." It's not handicap accessible, and it needs to be before council says it will do the rest of the project.
Burns, and some of the council members, expressed frustration at the council meeting, with delays the previous architect, John Dziurman, caused for the community center project. The formal feasibility study for the community center arrived nine months after the city commissioned it, three months after the contract specified, Burns said.
He referred to "a continuous history of not completing projects in a timely manner," by Dziurman. Dziurman also has worked with Fenton on the DDA's facade program, for improvements to existing buildings.
Lindhout Associates was ranked second to the Dziurman firm during the interview phase for the feasibility study of the community center. The Community Center Restoration Committee directed DDA board member Jim Saule and Burns to meet with Lindhout and Associates to see if it could provide a proposal for the next phase of the project.