by Dennis Dalman
If all goes well, the groundbreaking for a Sartell Community Center will take place sometime in early June 2016, and construction of the long-deferred wish will begin.
A preliminary project schedule was released by Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni during a special council meeting Jan. 12. The plan is based on directives the council had given to city staff about the steps that must be taken to give shape to a community center, to take the nebulous concept and make it a brick-and-mortar reality, so to speak.
The council has agreed a center should definitely be built within the next year or two. Increasingly so in recent months, some Sartell residents have expressed to the council their impatience in waiting for the center to materialize. The topic has come up again and again as an agenda item at councils during the past 15 years. A site committee was formed, but nothing definite has ever been decided as to where a center should be built or what amenities it should contain.
A community center has long been at the very top of Sartell residents’ priorities, according to several polls taken throughout the years.
Center advocates, including all the members of the city council and the new mayor, Sarah Jane Nicoll, agree a center should be built primarily with revenue from the regional half-cent sales tax. About $1.2 million of those funds have been set aside for that purpose, and more funds could follow now that voters have approved an extension of that tax to the year 2025.
The plan released by Degiovanni is intended to facilitate the community-center project step by step.
The following are the tasks and their time frames as spelled out by the plan:
Selection of architect: January 2015.
• Establishment of a Community Foundation Fund, if desired, to help pay for some incidental costs of the project: January 2015.
• Selection of a construction manager: February and March 2015.
• Fundraising, if needed: February through March 2015.
• Programming phase with community input to decide exactly which amenities a center should house: March through June 2015.
• Cost estimates: May 2015 through January 2016.
• Site selection, surveys, soil testing (these are predicated upon multiple sites chosen during the programming and early schematics): May through July 2015.
• Schematic designs drawn up: July through September 2015.
• Operations management decisions for how the center, once built, will be managed and maintained: August through November 2015.
• Design development: September through December 2015.
• Council decision on funding: October 2015.
• Construction documents drawn up: December 2015 through March 2016.
• City financing actions and resolutions: February and March 2016.
• Bidding process and other negotiations: April and May 2016.
• Council consideration of bids: May 2016.
• Groundbreaking ceremony: June 2016.
• Construction to begin: June 2016.