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Augusta Commission considers full renovation of Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building

Friday, March 8, 2013 8:23 PM
Last updated Saturday, March 9, 2013 2:12 AM
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An Augusta Commission committee on Friday moved closer to approving a full remodeling of the municipal building.

A rendering shows a remodeled municipal building. A full remodeling would carry a $32.3 million price tag.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
A rendering shows a remodeled municipal building. A full remodeling would carry a $32.3 million price tag.

In September, the commission opted for a modified plan that involved adding an elevator tower, a public entrance and training space at the back of the building; and renovating the restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and the first and second floors at a cost of about $20 million.

The administrative services committee agreed Friday that the full commission would vote Monday on whether to approve a full remodeling of the complex, which would cost about $32.3 million.

Under that plan, departments such as Plan­ning and Development would share a space, said architect Ed Boyen, of Virgo Gambill, the project firm.

Either option will involve a new commission chamber, converted from one of the former courtrooms, that is 21/2 times the size of the current chamber, Boyen said.

The full remodeling would require 29 staffers to move, and the modified plan would require about 40, as departments are relocated when their offices are renovated, according to Jennifer Henderson, the senior project for Turner Construction, the construction manager on the project.

“Are we going to have adequate parking to accommodate not only the employees, but the citizens?” Commissioner Bill Fennoy said.

Boyen said both projects would cost the complex 38 parking spaces but still leave sufficient parking.

“I’m wondering how much it’s going to cost to build the building like it needs to be done,” Commissioner Marion Williams said. “This city’s growing. We’re going to need more facilities.”

City financial consultant Dianne McNabb attended the work session to explain options for financing the full remodeling.

Using remaining money allocated to remodel the building in the sixth phase of the city’s special purpose local option sales tax, the city’s total bond issue needs to be $26.485 million, including a 2 percent cost of issuance and taking advantage of historically low interest rates, McNabb said.

The city can use the next phase of the sales tax, not yet approved by voters, to cover the 20-year bonds’ debt service, she said.

Fennoy said the project might be a tough sell for east Au­gusta residents plagued by flooding since the time the building was constructed. He asked that other projects might be included.

“It hasn’t been forgotten, trust me,” Williams said.

Asked whether he supported the municipal building project, Commissioner Grady Smith said he’ll “be leaning toward progress.”

“I trust what you gentlemen are talking about, and I’m ready to move forward,” he said.

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Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 03/08/13 - 08:31 pm
10
3
Growth

From the story:

“I’m wondering how much it’s going to cost to build the building like it needs to be done,” Commissioner Marion Williams said. “This city’s growing. We’re going to need more facilities.”

The city is not growing. Only the city government is growing.

We just don't have this kind of money lying around, Commissioner Williams. We taxpayers are hurting. If you can't find it in your cold, cold heart to grant a millage rollback, at least grant us taxpayers a one-time "prebate" on 2013 taxes, so we can have something to help with bread, milk, gasoline, electricity and natural gas. All of us don't get food stamps and heating assistance like some do.

countyman
21617
Points
countyman 03/08/13 - 09:26 pm
4
7
Growth!

The Hampton Inn(South Augusta), Holiday day Inn Express(CBD), & Home2Suites by Hilton(Augusta Exchange)are under construction. The Residential Inn by Marriott(Augusta Exchange) start this year.

The Gateway(Carmax area)is under construction, and Sage Creek(West Augusta)& Fort Gordon Place(South Augusta)begin in 2013. The fourth upscale apartment complex was shot down(Augusta Exchange)along Augusta West Parkway.

The city is definitely growing, and should offer the residents the best facilities. The following includes Diamond Lakes, Judicial Center, Augusta Regional new developments, TEE Center, new vocational high school, Kroc Center, sheriffs office across from 401, etc to name a few.

I do think it's time for West Augusta to get something new. Either green space near the August Exchange(attract residential/businesses & pedestrian friendly) or the major renovation of Warren road park.

mosovich
858
Points
mosovich 03/08/13 - 10:30 pm
5
1
Trees...

I guess money grows on trees over in Augusta..

jmo
18383
Points
jmo 03/09/13 - 06:09 am
5
0
If it's 30 million today,

it will be 60 million before the project is finished. Get rid of some of the
duplicated jobs and you will not that extra space.

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 07:12 am
4
2
LL, the reality of the census

LL, the reality of the census doesn't phase them. Fewer households and a population the same in the censuses of 2010 and 2000.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 03/09/13 - 07:29 am
4
1
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

IMHO: Purchase the Marriott Hotel and convert it.
The taxpayers have already dumped enough $$$ into it the Convention Center and the Parking deck.

My off the cuff idea, makes as much sense as spending money on top of money for a 50+ year old building.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 07:35 am
4
2
Augusta is growing??

What....tell that to Martinez-Evans-Appling.....the CSRA is growing .....that is more like it....how dang old is that building anyway...

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 03/09/13 - 07:43 am
4
0
Food for thought

Downtown is like a Trophy Wife, after a while, it becomes cheaper to trade her in, than to pay to fix her.

Wonder how we can go about Divorcing Augusta and getting a practical and sensible wife?

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 07:54 am
4
0
non noc

hahahh ...are you saying CUT HER LOOSE....dang...you might get your own radio program...lol

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 03/09/13 - 08:06 am
4
0
SIB4 - Building age.

Don't quote me. but I think it was finished in 1956-57.
So it is about 56 years old.

The problem is, it does not meet Federal or State codes in so many ways that it would be cheaper to purchase the Regency Mall and convert it.

We have already seen code expenses pop up last year with project overruns on the last simple upgrade.

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 03/09/13 - 08:06 am
4
0
Poor Grady

From the story:

In September, the commission opted for a modified plan that involved . . . renovating the restrooms, heating and air conditioning. . . . Asked whether he supported the municipal building project, Commissioner Grady Smith said he’ll “be leaning toward progress.” “I trust what you gentlemen are talking about, and I’m ready to move forward,” he said.

Scary thought.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 03/09/13 - 09:11 am
3
0
no restraint

Clearly there is no restraint on the spending of our money, no consideration of public opinion, and certainly no concern over debt. The building should be leveled as it adds nothing to the appearance of our city and the rendering is just plain UGLY. It looks exactly like what it is - - a patch up job and waste of millions of dollars that could be much better spent.

Little Lamb
48858
Points
Little Lamb 03/09/13 - 09:45 am
3
0
Ruff

When the entire judicial system was moved from the Marble Palace into the Ruff House, there was created tens of thousands of square feet of empty space in the Marble Palace. All that was needed was some moveable partitioning walls to make cubicles for city workers that needed to be moved into the Marble Palace from rented facilities all around town, thus saving the city money by ending the leases.

Instead, Fred (What, me worry?) Russell comes up with this dream remodeling plan, costing money instead of saving it. Look at the money trail:

. . . share a space, said architect Ed Boyen, of Virgo Gambill, the project firm. . . . are renovated, according to Jennifer Henderson, the senior project manager for Turner Construction, the construction manager on the project. . . . City financial consultant Dianne McNabb attended the work session to explain options for financing the full remodeling.

When you have architects, project managers, and consultants speaking to commissioners with their dazzling dreams, the sky is the limit. We taxpayers don't have a chance.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/09/13 - 09:55 am
3
0
Just propose to name it after

Just propose to name it after someone in the community and see if anyone steps up. After someone has amassed a certain amount of wealth, they may pony up some funds and/or call in some favors to get the job done in trade for the recognition. They may be philantropic enough just to kick-in b/c they know Augusta needs it. Does that happen anymore? Isn't that what went down with the school consolidation in a way?

countyman
21617
Points
countyman 03/09/13 - 10:26 am
2
4
Facts

This is why I take some of the comments on here with a grain of salt. The bias against Richmond County is overwhelming sometimes.

People continue to make comments without any facts to back them up. The 2010 census and 2011 estimate are both higher than the 2000 population. The Business Journal 2012 estimate is higher than the 2000 population. The number of households in 2010 were also larger than 2000. I don't know how the the year 2010 or 2000 is related to the growth in 2013 anyway.

Please explain this?

Households
2010 76,924
2000 73,920

Can you the usual commentators explain to me why the 2011 estimate shows Richmond County gained more new residents than Aiken county did? And remember this is only the estimates and their usually based off the previous years growth. That's why estimates are usually wrong, because cities like Augusta are growing much faster compared to the last decade.

What does Augusta growing have to do with Martinez/Evans and definitely little Appling? Plus the metro and CSRA are two different things.

countyman
21617
Points
countyman 03/09/13 - 10:31 am
1
6
This is for my good friend

This is for my good friend Riverman.. I'm positive the spin machine will be coming out now.

The population, number of occupied households, and number of total households all INCREASED between 2000-2010.

www.zip-codes.com/county/ga-richmond-census-comparison.asp

The previous years have nothing to do with 2013, but the public must know the real truth.

rdb613@gmail.com
34
Points
rdb613@gmail.com 03/09/13 - 10:47 am
3
0
If you build it they will come??

Before you start another expensive project take care of what you have already squandered - like the river walk. Its falling apart, and you can't even keep the restrooms open. If you've run out of room at the existing facilities, decrease the government size as I see no evidence of progress to justify government growth. I just hope the new convention center isn't going to be a white elephant too. You can't even keep the Green Jackets in town and we see hockey just about finished. It seems every time taxes are raised to pay for past projects you think you have a green light to spend more and start new projects. Downtown Augusta is an embarrassment compared to other Georgia communities. Spend money on a new events coordinator! The misfits in government do not need a new building!

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 10:49 am
4
1
You are insulting us ctyman

What does Augusta growing have to do with Martinez/Evans and definitely little Appling

Weel....where do you think the influx comes from....if not Richmond county....common sense tells ya we can't all live in the same county...many move for schools---more land--safety reasons--comfort & some because they can afford to move....nothing wrong with that...even your own data tells you that many move from Richmond after reaching the age of 35 or so...ck it ...it says -22 % & more......Richmond seems to get more of the aged group......
The csra is growing & so what......just like Atlanta has sprung up the burbs all around the big city.......you can't stop it & why would you....btw...I can think of many posters on here that are living in Columbia county & guess where they came from...yep...Richmond..

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 10:52 am
5
0
Sometimes ctyman

I think you would put up a fence at the Richmond county line just to keep the residents inside ...lol....no can do...

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 11:16 am
4
0
Are the white squirrels

Are the white squirrels included when the population is counted?

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 03/09/13 - 11:19 am
4
1
Have to agree with Marion Williams...

...the city will need more "facilities". The people who are making the city "grow", are the kind that require a LOT of facilities and babysitters.

As the nicer apartment complexes in the city age (at about 7 years they start a precipitous slide DOWN), and very few new ($800+ a month) units are built...the city is going to grow alright. Augusta's government dependent class is growing WAY faster than the residential property tax payers.

WAY.

So yes...build more facilities. Augusta will need them.

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 03/09/13 - 11:54 am
4
0
According to the Censuses

Okay...to give Countyman credit, the 2010 population of Richmond Cty was 200,549 with 75,208 households and 84,427 housing units.

In 2000 the population was 199,775 with 73920 households and 82,312 housing units.

But he was a little off with the number of households in Richmond County 2010 according to the census.

WeAreAllInfected
111
Points
WeAreAllInfected 03/09/13 - 01:18 pm
3
1
Countyman wrong again.

A +0.39% increase in population over 10 years is not growth.
Between 2000 and 2010 the US population increased by 9.7%.

This is what growth looks like: http://www.zip-codes.com/county/ga-columbia-census-comparison.asp

countyman
21617
Points
countyman 03/09/13 - 05:34 pm
1
4
It's the year 2013, and

It's the year 2013, and people are bringing up 2000-2010. I could understand 2012/2011, but over ten years ago is not relevant to today.

seenitB4
96837
Points
seenitB4 03/09/13 - 06:17 pm
4
0
ctyman

Look at your 1031am post...you brought up 2000 ......in your data.....do you sometimes take a nap & forget what you are posting....just wondering..

you said....
households all INCREASED between 2000-2010.

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/09/13 - 09:50 pm
2
0
Lets See, Facts**

Households
2010 76,924
2000 73,920 (countyman facts)

That's a 3004 household increase in 10 years.....
Approximately 300 increase a year...

I know darn well there has been more than 300 fatherless children born each year. Some thing doesn't add up!

CobaltGeorge
174953
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/09/13 - 09:56 pm
1
0
Come To Think About It

countyman, you may be right....

dichotomy
37343
Points
dichotomy 03/09/13 - 10:41 pm
3
0
"I guess money grows on trees

"I guess money grows on trees over in Augusta"

No, we grow the money out here in South Richmond County and ship it downtown to finance government buildings and "redevelopment".

TrulyWorried
16484
Points
TrulyWorried 03/10/13 - 11:33 am
0
0
Growth in the CSRA

Countyman - your knowledge overwhelms me - if you could only fix some of the problems that exist - we could be in good shape!

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