Budget approval is on the horizon and for the Recreation Centers of Sun City West Governing Board one particular proposal has the board undecided.
On the table is a proposed recreation centers new construction metal shop project for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The amount requested is $410,000, which is almost half of the total proposed amount of $829,200 for recreation centers new construction.
RCSCW General Manager Bill Schwind addressed the governing board during the May 15 workshop to provide the background to why the request for the new construction was placed on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year set to begin July 1.
“One year ago I was out at the metal shop shortly after the rain and I observed a situation and wanted to know what we can do to remedy the problem,” he explained. “The area is on the side of the metal shop that encroaches between our property and the car wash. Our building is attached to a wall we don’t own and the roofing material that provides shade to the metal working equipment and is being using by club members, who are actually standing in water using electrical equipment, and that is not good.”
Mr. Schwind explained he raised the concern with RCSCW Facilities Project Superintendent Karl Wilhelm and asked to get a quick estimate as the association was in the middle of a budget process, with no chief financial officer. Mr. Wilhelm estimated the cost at $500,000 and in the budget process Mr. Schwind said he realized a problem that needed to be fixed.
“I neglected to run it through the Properties, Chartered Clubs and Budget and Finance committees and I apologize for that and over the course of the process last year the governing board kindly approved $250,000 to try to fix it,” he said. “This is not a request from the Metal Club, this is solely on me with new eyes on the situation and what I saw as a huge liability on the organization. So we took the $250,000 and have spent eight months to come up with a feasible design. Karl has been working with Maricopa County for compliance and the architectural designs and cost assessment are done.”
Mr. Schwind affirmed the metal shop and club participants understand the problem and stepped up to provide $18,000 from club funds in order to move the very large equipment storage facility to the other side of the parking lot, which he said will help facilitate making room to fix the problem and that project was accomplished. Next is to get the architectural design to get the equipment out of the easement and out of standing water and relocating it to the south side of the property.
“Again we have the $250,000 and haven’t spent any of that. Based on the estimate, this building is going to cost between $570,000 and $600,000 to fix,” Mr. Schwind said. “And based on the $250,000 we are in need of $320,000 to $410,000 to get this thing done.”
The $410,000 is a maximum potential, according to Mr. Schwind, who said it can be done for a lot less to a tune of about $90,000, possibly more.
Over the past 10 years the Metal Club, which is a manufacturing club, generated more than $1 million and averages $124,000 in club sales. Mr. Schwind said RCSCW policies required 16 percent of that total go to the RCSCW annually.
“I truly understand that is a lot of money and the timing is horrible on this one. The thing of concern is simply liability and risk to the association. I brought it to your attention last year because I saw it and I am talking to you this fiscal year as it still exists,” he explained. “If we delay we can keep our fingers crossed and hope no one gets hurt due to an electrical zap or gets injured and if it is going to get deferred we are going to have this conversation next year.”
He said officials could close the building and shut it down when it rains and rely on individual judgment of people.
“But you know as well as we do that is not the greatest way to go,” he added. “I don’t want to tie your hands, just trying to present to you a consolidated case as to why we are here talking about this project.”
Governing board member Jim Young said he supports the plan, but questions why putting up a wall and rebuilding the area isn’t a fix. Mr. Wilhelm provided information saying due to the easement, Maricopa County officials say if something is going to be erected it has to have a 10-hour fire rating and the only thing to establish that rating is a masonry wall. But a new modern or professionally designed roof does not come with that rating.
“There’s not a roof that has a 10-hour fire rating. The only option is to establish a building that has a 10-hour fire rating and profile with an approved roof system,” he said.
Board member Bryan Walus asked why there aren’t any alternative plans.
“Clearly over time the Metal Club has come up with plenty of money to build and to buy the equipment and get it electrically connected so there is a lot of money the Metal Club can come up when they need to. All the other statistics not withstanding, the $18,000 should be something they pay for,” he said.
The topic of clubs paying for upgrades was broached by board member Donna Maloney. She said pickleball paid for courts and tennis paid for upgrades and the Metal Club should have to contribute as well. Board member Sue Fitzsimons shared the same concerns.
“Not to be contributing a significant amount is troubling to me,” Ms. Fitzsimons said.
Mr. Schwind said from management’s perspective once a facility gets built it is the associations responsibility for maintenance. He said when safety issues arose at the tennis courts, those were all redone and the club did not contribute any funds. When pickleball courts get resurfaced, the club does not pay, he added.
“Maintenance responsibility falls onto the association. Renovations at Kuentz, some clubs have contributed out of the kindness of their own heart, but it was not mandated. This metal shop belongs to the association. I understand they use it and this is a problem that has needed to be addressed for some time and again this is not a club request,” Mr. Schwind explained.
Board member Bob Carneiro said the liability falls upon the association and if anything happens at the metal shop, it is the association’s fault.
But a bigger concern for board member George Kuchtyak was why there is an actual architectural plan with a real cost factored in.
“We do have firm plans not in county application, but preliminary plans from a major general contractor who has software and the knowledge to take the theory and build a design giving us a range of magnitude and we’re at the high end of $660,000,” Mr. Wilhelm said. “That same range of magnitude formal letter and based on some really solid unknowns about exactly what the AC design and electrical design will factor in. We will make sure we are holding the metal shop accountable to absolute needs and that will also be factored into final designs plans.”
RCSCW Governing Board President Jim Sloan requested board members provide staff with direction, to which Ms. Fitzsimons suggested staff go back to the club and see if more fundraising can be done to provide a considerable amount of money for the project. Mr. Walus recommended a less expensive solution to address the safety concern.
Eight months of research has been put into project solutions and the one presented is the opportunity with the least amount of risk, according to Mr. Wilhelm.
The decision will be made on all budget items during the Thursday, May 28 governing board meeting.