Wellington will have a new tennis center within two years, and a new community center to follow soon after, if everything goes according to plans approved this week.
Members of the Wellington Village Council voted Tuesday to approve a $12.8 million contract to rebuild the Wellington Community Center and move the Wellington Tennis Center.
Council members voted 3-1, with Vice Mayor Howard Coates dissenting, to approve the contract with Pirtle Construction. Councilwoman Anne Gerwig did not vote because her company has done business in the past with the architect working on the project.
Additionally, the council voted to transfer $2.6 million from its reserves to cover the project.
“I thank you and your staff for negotiating what I think is a very reasonable price,” Councilman John Greene said to Director of Operations Jim Barnes.
Wellington staff negotiated a $12.5 million “guaranteed maximum price” contract with Pirtle Construction. The total cost also includes an additional $63,400 agreement with Alexis Knight Architects, approximately $81,000 in permits and regulatory fees, and $100,000 in builders risk insurance, bringing the project total to about $12.8 million.
“We’ve returned back to the original proposal,” Barnes said.
The main changes in the contract come from the planned tennis center, which is being reduced from 23 to 21 courts, in line with the council’s original request.
“It will allow for future expansion, but we are staying with the original program for 21 courts,” Barnes said.
The contract also eliminates some redundancy in court drainage costs, which added to the savings, and a reduction of the tennis center’s entryway.
“What you have is the ability to look at the changes as a starting point,” Barnes said.
Because the project is design-build, staff and council members will be able to provide continual input.
Greene asked whether covering some of the additional expenses, such as insurance, would come at a cost savings.
“Was it significantly less to have us do that?” he asked.
Barnes said it was. “[Pirtle’s] risk insurance was about $160,000… and we received a quote for $36,000 for the tennis center. Given that that’s half the project, we think it will be just a little more than that for the whole project. All in all, it’s about 50 percent of his cost, so there is a considerable savings there,” he said.
Greene then asked when construction was expected to begin. Barnes said there is a window of two years for the project to be completed.
“If this is approved, we’d like to begin meetings with staff and individual council members,” he said. “The tennis facility is proposed to go first, given the timing requirements. We can’t commence any work that would impact tennis play until the facility is completely relocated.”
During public comment, several residents again said that the tennis center should remain where it is.
“I believe this issue should have been voted on by the people,” resident Bart Novak said. “We should not be moving the tennis courts and giving up those 15 acres. The seniors can use that 15 acres. We can still maintain tennis courts here.”
Alec Domb, representing the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, said moving the courts would affect businesses.
“We oppose moving the tennis facility because it’s bad for businesses in the area,” he said. “We think you should keep the tennis facility in the town center.”
The new facility would address Wellington’s growing needs, Greene said. “I think it’s important we look ahead,” he said. “We need to do what’s best for the village today and a few years from now. I hope anyone who is concerned with how much money this is costing knows we’ve done it with great planning and great awareness of where we stand financially, and what kind of impact it will have on the community.”
He said he hopes some of the opponents of moving the facility will still be able to enjoy the new facility. “It will be there for the new generations of Wellingtonians to enjoy,” Greene said.
Vice Mayor Howard Coates called the project “fiscally irresponsible.”
“It’s not responsive to the needs and desires of the community,” he said. “I have said this in previous meetings, so I won’t belabor it tonight, but I won’t be supporting this.”
Greene made a motion to approve the contract, which passed 3-1.
ABOVE: Councilwoman Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor Howard Coates took the oath of office Tuesday to formally begin their new terms.