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LELAND—Leland is moving forward with plans for its Leland Cultural Arts Center.
In 2010, the town bought an unfinished 18,000-square-foot building off U.S. 17 on 1212 Magnolia Village Way. It’s behind P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille near the Magnolia Greens development.
In 2011, town officials decided it should house an arts hub with a stage/auditorium for public events and rooms for woodworking, pottery and painting/visual arts classrooms as well as a catering kitchen, a gallery and administrative offices.
In 2013, parks and recreation director Niel Brooks proposed the town let architect John Sawyer design the building as a single-phase project.
Plans for renovating the building were originally contracted as a multi-phase project, but during the Thursday, Jan. 17, town meeting, Brooks asked town officials to plan for one big upgrade.
“It makes sense to do all of it in one phase. Most of the costs are up front costs,” Brooks said.
The building is complete, just the interior is unfinished, so Sawyer’s plans incorporate the existing building. The only structural change recommended is a redesigned entrance.
“It will have different detail windows and a different entrance. That will give it a similar look to the other buildings (in the area),” Brooks said.
One other change will cut down on the number of paved parking spaces to decrease the impervious surface area. A large area of open space will be designed for use as overflow parking when the need arises.
Brooks said if the new plan is approved, the town could see renovations begin in August, with the building remodeling finished by July 2014.
Building the project in multiple phases would push the completion date to May 2015, at the earliest.
And a single-phase project means you only have to put the contract out to bid one time, Brooks said.
Brooks said they could cut $68,000 from daily expenses with a one-phase project.
The estimated cost of the renovation would drop from $1.62 million to $1.55 million, he said.
Brooks said once the planning stage is approved, the Friends of the Cultural Arts Center—a nonprofit group associated with the town’s cultural arts committee—will begin fundraising to help pay for the upgrade.
“This will provide a really nice center to serve the needs and wants of the community,” Brooks said.
At Thursday’s meeting Brooks asked town council to give staff authorization to amend its contract with Sawyer. The original contract was based on creating the building design phase by phase.
“By designing the whole building (at once) John will get the whole design finished by May and the board could bid it by late June or early July,” Brooks said.
The town council did not vote at the Jan. 17 meeting.
Brooks said if they were happy with the direction town planners were taking, the staff would come back at the Feb. 21 meeting to provide a picture of financing options.
“We would not amend the contract until it comes back (next month),” town attorney John Wessell said.
Town manager David Hollis added the project could be financed at around $2 million to pay about $150,000 a year on a 15-year loan. The final numbers would come once financing is put out for bank bids.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.