BID project price causes some sticker shock

By Gray Hughes

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When the $700,000 price tag was unveiled for the Business Improvement Board (BID) project of expanding the Hill City Senior Center and building public bathrooms, there was some sticker shock.

Donovan Broberg, architect for ARC International in Rapid City, presented the plans to the BID board at the board’s meeting Thursday, April 4.

The new plan would add two 700 square-foot meeting rooms, kitchen expansion, public restrooms and a 1,500 square-foot patio.

There will also be additions of hallways and a glass door in one of the meeting rooms that can open up to the outside.

As a separate part of the project, there will be an expansion of a parking lot by removing the tennis courts. That cost was not factored into the overall cost of the designs Broberg presented to the BID board at the Thursday meeting.

“This is just a conceptual plan,” Broberg said.

However, the board said it wanted to see a redesigned project that would lower the cost.

Broberg said there are “a few ways” to trim the cost. Hallways could be removed and square footage could be removed.

Some on the board, though, questioned what the project itself has to do with improving business.

“Outside of adding the bathrooms, does this have anything to do with tourism?” asked Chuck Voorhees, BID board member. “Or is this being done to satisfy community needs?”

Eileen Hamm, BID board member, said that the space could be used for community events.

More costs that will need to go into the project raised additional concerns for some members of the BID board.

“If we are already at $700,000, when we do other parts of the project and with change orders, we could be pushing $1 million,” said Shane Schriner, BID board member. “If it’s up to me, I am not in favor of spending $1 million down there.”

There is a need to move on to the next part of the project and start doing planning for that, said Dennis Krull, BID board member, to determine what could be done to help the overall cost.

Removing the tennis courts and working on the alleys will cost around $400,000, said Brett McMacken, Hill City city administrator.

“It is a cool plan,” Voorhees said. “But no one was expecting that number to be that high. …(Krull) gave good advice. We need to work backwards. We need to think about what will have the best economic impact and what is best for our guests.”

Buzz Grover, project manager for the BID board project, said the remodel won’t be just for the senior center. Rather, it would be transforming the senior center into a community center.

Voorhees asked if the senior center turns into a community center, then what is the purpose of the BID board since its main focus is to work on improving business.

The board then deliberated if they wanted Broberg to redesign the building, continue and design the other portion of the project or do nothing.

Ultimately, the BID board decided to hold off on any further designs and will discuss the matter at the next BID board meeting.

The next BID board meeting is scheduled for April 18 at 5 p.m.

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