Kurt Hildebrand

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March 30, 2012
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County unveils conceptual center plans

About two dozen people took a virtual tour of the proposed Douglas County Community and Senior Center on Thursday night.

A joint meeting of the Douglas County Parks & Recreation Commission and the Senior Services Advisory Council approved recommending conceptual plans for the center to the Douglas County commission.

Plans prepared by Collaborative Design Studio show a basic footprint, rendering, and layout for the building.

However, both Parks & Recreation Chairwoman Kelly Gardner and Community Services Director Scott Morgan warned residents not to be too attached to specifics.

"We are talking about this all in concept," Gardner said. "This is just to get a footprint and an idea of what we're looking at."

Morgan told residents that most of the material presented on Thursday was conceptual.

"We're just looking for a flavor," he said. "This is not necessarily what we're building. We'll send this out to a contractor, who will work with an architect, and then will present what they can do. "We're setting tone identifying needs and relationships."

Morgan said the idea of a new center has been in the works almost his entire career in Douglas.

"I've been here 18 years and it seems like we've been talking about this since Day 1," he said.

Rather than developing plans to be put out to bid, the county is using a design-build process, in which builders will be told how much money is available and they will present plans for the center as part of the process.

He said the center will cost an estimated $18 million and that the county will get what it can for the money.

"Eighteen million doesn't buy what $18 million used to buy," he said. "But money has never been cheaper, and contractors are hungry, so we may benefit from competition."

The source of the money is already established in the form of the county's nickel capital projects tax supplemented with the utility operator fee and the emergency medical indigent fund.

The projects tax was used to expand the Douglas County Jail and with that project's completion, the center became the next proposal.

Morgan said the senior center has saved $1 million in room tax money to support the project.

Collaborative Design Managing Partner Todd Lankenau guided residents through the proposed center.

In addition to a dining room that seats 300, the center includes two high school regulation basketball courts, an indoor walking track and exercise machines.

The walking track would feature three lanes which would allow people to use it at different speeds.

Space has been set aside for an adult day care for about 20 people and a preschool for 30 children.

Morgan said the plan was to include as many multi-generational features as possible.

He said the goal is to be able to operate the center at night with two part-time employees.

The center is estimated to be completed by December 2014.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 1, 2012 11:48AM Published Mar 30, 2012 07:39PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.