2013-11-07 / Front Page

Architects unveil estimates for new clubhouse

By Margo Sullivan

Replacing the building at the golf course will cost between $2,252,000 and $3.7 million, depending on whether the community wants to incorporate space for the performing arts on the same site, architect Bill Burgin told the Town Council at a Oct. 30 workshop.

Burgin, of the Newport firm Burgin Lambert, also asked councilors to consider replacing the clubhouse with a “village” of four new buildings, opposed to one structure. The village plan can cost more, he conceded, but would be an “expedient way” of tackling the project.

“We’re trying to develop a program, but we made some fundamental assumptions,” Burgin said.

The meeting was well attended, despite the pending World Series game, and many members of the audience spoke in favor of including space for the performing arts.

Christine Ariel asked what the plan means for taxpayers who don’t play golf but do belong to community organizations. The rec study pointed out the popularity of arts and cultural activities, Ariel said, and she hoped there would be no delays over adding performance space to the complex. Mary Wright and B.J. Whitehouse also spoke in support of including the performing arts in the plans. However, others said the location might not be optimal for anything except a golf course.

Council President Kristine Trocki reminded residents the workshop would be only one of many public meetings on the plans for a new facility.

As proposed, the new club- house, where the Caddy Shack would go, would measure 4,300 square feet. It would be about 500 square feet larger than the existing structure. At a cost of $350 per square foot, the price of the new building would total $1.5 million, according to Burgin.

“We enlarged the Caddy Shack ever so slightly,” he said. The architects also extended the porch to accommodate more outdoor dining.

In all, the $2.2 million replacement would add 1,000 square feet to the golf facility. If the town opts to add a new multipurpose building for the performing arts, the construction would entail an additional 4,300 square feet and push the cost up to $3.7 million, Burgin said. The idea would be to match the size of the new multipurpose building to the clubhouse, while leaving open the possibility of adding a second floor in the future.

“The advantage of having the smaller buildings is, you can phase them in,” Burgin said. He suggested allowing the course operator to continue using the existing facility while the new clubhouse is built closer to the first tee. The parking configuration would change to a single entry circulation and allow 15 additional spaces, he said.

Councilor Blake Dickinson said he preferred the two-entry parking arrangement, however. Burgin replied single entry would be better for circulation.

Burgin said the rest of the plan called for $20,000 to upgrade the existing 1,500-square-foot maintenance barn that stands next to the pond.

The architects also proposed a second maintenance building at $110 per square foot and a total cost of $363,000. The third building, where the golf carts would be stored, could be preconstructed at a cost of $100 a square foot.

According to Burgin, if the councilors opted to add space for the performing arts, the carts would be stored under the clubhouse, instead of in a separate building. The multipurpose building would comprise 4,300 square feet at a cost of $350 per square foot for a total price of $1.5 million.

Other expenses would be $100,000 for the new parking lot with landscaping and $30,000 for the demo, he said.

Councilor Mary Meagher asked about the option to store the golf carts under the building. She would prefer not to do that, she said.

Burgin conceded there were issues about fire safety but said the carts could go under a deck.

Councilor Eugene Mihaly asked why the architects proposed constructing a multipurpose building instead of a third floor to the clubhouse.

Burgin said access to the upper floors, either by staircase or by elevator, would “add quite a bit of expense” to the project. If the councilors settle on the two-story clubhouse, the plan will follow the existing split-level arrangement, he said.

“We put a very low basement in for the carts,” he said. “Access would not be through an elevator or a staircase.”

Trocki said the village concept did serve to separate activities at the golf course.

That was one rationale, Burgin said, and there was also an aesthetic issue. If the architects build one structure to replace the existing facility, the town would end up with “one giant building in a flat plane.” For aesthetic reasons, the design would probably have to incorporate “all kinds of dormers and wings to ground the whole complex and make it look Jamestown.”

Burgin said the architects needed some direction from the councilors before proceeding.

Although the councilors will have to make some decisions by mid-winter about the facility, Town Administrator Kevin Paicos suggested “taking a step back” and considering the big picture about the arts and culture on the island. According to Paicos, arts are “an enormous part of the character of Jamestown.” Paicos said he was doubtful the town had “a good inventory” of all the private and public organizations in town that will want to use the facility.

If the councilors take the time now to do “thoughtful planning,” they could gain a building that’s better appreciated by future generations, he said, and given the fact these buildings will be there for at least 50 years, that’s an important consideration.

The councilors applauded his suggestion.

“This is a lot of money,” Trocki said. ”We want to be mindful of the taxpayers.”

Paicos updated the status of the project at the council’s Monday night meeting when he delivered the town administrator’s report. He suggested conferring with the consultants who recently completed the recreation study. They had already collected information about private groups that provide arts programming, he noted, and could be a good resource. The councilors authorized Paicos to contact the consultants and ask about the fee to expand their report to produce a comprehensive inventory of all Jamestown arts and cultural organizations.

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