City Center Selection Committee Update

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From the City of Central
    Last Wednesday, January 8, 2014, the City Center Selection Committee (CCSC) met with members of the Central Community School System and Superintendent Faulk regarding the possible use of the old Central Middle School Property at the corner of Hooper & Sullivan as a City Center Site. The CCSC is currently reviewing 4 possible sites submitted through a Request for Information (RFI) process, as well as looking at any other potential sites of interest, one of which is the old middle school property.  There were a couple of misconceptions that may have come out of this meeting that I would like to clarify.  First, when referencing a “city hall” or “administration building”, I would like to clarify that the State of Louisiana Capital Outlay funds for this project include an Administration Building only for executive staff and an adjoining city services center. The capital outlay funds are appropriated for a building consisting of the following spaces:
· 1 Mayor’s Office (250 sq. ft)
· 4 offices for Executive Staff (150 sq. ft each)
· 4 general offices for city service staff (120 sq ft ea)
· 1 Council Chamber (1,800 sq. ft)
· 1 Council Deliberation room (300 sq. ft)
· 1 Break Room/Kitchen (250 sq. ft)
· 1 Public Lobby (500 sq. ft)
· 1 Reception area (300 sq. ft)
· 2 Conference Rooms (150 sq. ft and 200 sq. ft)
· 1 Staff Open Office Area for 8 workers (3,200 sq ft)
· 1 Storage Room (800 sq. ft)
· 2 Restroom Facilities (350 sq. ft)
· 1 Mechanical/Technology Equipment Room (715 sq ft)
· 1 Parking Lot
    This total estimated cost of the nearly 9,000 sq. ft. building was approximately $1.402 million. This cost was an estimate in 2009 based upon a square foot price and with no actual building design. As you can imagine, with inflation, the cost of construction has risen each year since then. There is also Land Acquisition costs of $340,000 included in the Capital Outlay Request, as well as $140,000 for planning/design. This brings the total requested funds to near $1.9 million.
    As of June 2013, the following funds have been appropriated through the Capital Outlay request: $157,000 for Land Acquisition, $72,000 for planning, and $16,000 for miscellaneous. Approximately $1,715,000 has not yet been appropriated through the capital outlay process, as this amount is being held in a non-cash line of credit until it is ready to be used and must go through the legislative process and bond commission at a later date.
    Second, in regards to the middle school property, a sample site plan was shown at the meeting. This was simply one possible concept design of a sample city center that could be developed on that property, and this was clearly stated at the meeting. It was NOT a proposal to the school board. Another sample design for this property was developed and shown last year at another public meeting as part of the city’s City Center Master Plan development. Other sample designs can be prepared for this and the other properties under consideration.
    Third, the goal of the CCSC is to primarily recommend a site for a new City Center and Administration Building. The recommendation of the CCSC will be presented to the mayor, and the city council will ultimately have to appropriate funds for any land acquisition and construction.