YMCA building moves forward

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The Mark A. Chapman YMCA Indoor Recreational Facility came a little bit closer to construction after a Sealy City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 8, although a lot more money is needed to complete the joint venture between the city and the YMCA.

Brian Haines, vice president of operations for YMCA of Greater Houston, told council members the YMCA is presently funded up to $3.5 million, but it still requires an additional $750,000. Some of that money may be raised by the selling of naming rights to parts of the facility following a vote by the city council.

The proposed cost breakdown for the facility has the city on line for $2 million, the Mark A. Chapman Foundation paying $1.5 million and, if the council approves it, fundraising opportunities through Sealy YMCA with a $750,000 goal to meet an overall $4.25 million.

Joby Copley, project executive and partner at Joiner Architects, said total cost estimates to wire and install necessary technology for the building and its complete construction hovers around $4.25 million during an update on Phase 1 of project development for the YMCA. The building itself costs just shy of $3.5 million, he said.

Copley told the council some of the original plans for the first phase had to be removed for the time being because of costs. He said projections place costs around $235 per square foot of space for the facility. So he advised shrinking the overall master plan from an 18,000-square foot facility down to 15,000-square feet.

Councilmember Wyn McCready, who admitted to lacking knowledge for costs in the commercial industry, wondered about cost differences when compared to residential. Costs per square foot for residential construction are between $115 and $145 per square foot in the local area, he said. Why is there a big difference, he asked.

“Can you help me get from $145 to $235?” McCready asked.

“Commercial buildings are obviously much more complicated. ... As trades get more advanced, numbers are going to go up,” Copley said, noting that building a structure using steel rather than wood raises the cost.

The final product once construction is complete — the estimated completion date and move-in timeframe is March 2017 — will dress the facility in a brick and stone design with a gable roof, keeping the aesthetics of the adjacent swimming pool facility at Jacqueline Cryan Park.

Haines said 20 potential donors have showed interest in the project, and an opportunity on $250,000 for FF&E, or furniture, fixtures and equipment, could be rolled over into operating costs and the YMCA could lease equipment rather than purchasing outright. But they are still searching for grants – anything to absorb some of the costs.

Haines said they are going to “make sure [they are] not leaving any stone unturned.”

Council members were concerned with going over the project budget, but Copley said they would scale back the project if need be, although it should not be necessary with a 5 percent contingency.

Haines asked that the council approve solicitation of naming rights for facility areas, and secondly allow the solicitation of the extra money needed for the project through fundraising.

Council members approved both requests in a 5-0 vote. Mayor Mark Stolarski and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Kubricht were absent from the meeting. Councilmember Sandra Vrablec led the meeting in their absence.

Representatives for Phase 1 construction are due back before council to present plan updates four more times before construction begins: in January with 50 percent of the completed plans; February with 75 percent; March with 95 percent; and a final plan at the end of March.

Copley said the contractor’s proposal would be brought before the council on April 26.

In other news, the city is also reworking a 1997 series and 2003 series tax and waterworks and sewer surplus revenue certificates of obligation through BOSC, Inc., a financial advisor. The refinancing of the bonds for a series 2016 refunding bond produced a $68,000 savings for the city, said John Robuck, vice president of Texas Public Finance for BOSC.

On Monday, Dec. 7, BOSC received six purchasing bids, and the winning bid came from First National Bank Texas at 1.58 percent, 21 base points below all other bidders, Robuck said.

Marcus Deitz, a bond counselor and partner with McGuire Woods, LLP, needs a signature from Stolarski, who came back to town Dec. 11, in order to file them with the Texas attorney general by Jan. 12, 2016.

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