City Council weighs in on plan to replace old child care facility | SteamboatToday.com

City Council weighs in on plan to replace old child care facility

City Council weighs in on proposal to replace old child care facility

Scott Franz

City officials say the current Igloo is outdated and needs to be replaced.

— The city of Steamboat Springs’ plan to build a new child care facility to replace its aging Igloo was met with several questions when it was brought to the City Council earlier this month.

Some council members were leery when they learned the project had not gone through the city’s planning process yet.

They also wondered what additional costs could be discovered and how much the city will need to dip into its capital reserve fund to launch the project.

The council’s uneasiness was compounded by the fact that the price tag on the project recently took a $202,865 jump from the estimate city officials put together in 2014.

The city’s Parks and Community Services Department, which is leading the planning for the new facility, told the council the price could even go beyond the higher $543,000 total if it is deemed a new sidewalk is needed at the project area.

“This hasn’t been through planning, and it hasn’t been through technical advisory committee either,” Councilman Jason Lacy said. “That’s what makes me a little nervous is we have a 60-percent miss here already, and I would like to have more certainty over numbers before we’re moving ahead.”

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Asked by councilwoman Kathi Meyer why the project had not gone through planning yet, a city official said the site selection and an application process for a grant to help pay for the new Igloo took priority.

“It came down to timing,” Kyrill Kretzschmar, the city’s recreation and enterprise services manager, said.

The council voted to have city staff draft a new budget proposal for the project that includes firmer numbers.

Planning Director Tyler Gibbs estimated it would take six to eight weeks for the project to make its way through the city’s planning process.

While the council asked several questions about the cost of the facility, a majority expressed support for the idea.

Alexis Wolf, the city’s youth programs director, told the council how a new Igloo will benefit the community.

She said in addition to improving the existing programming for young children, the new space could be rented out for such things as birthday parties and also host Teen Council meetings.

“There’s a lot of potential and use for this building beyond what we currently do,” Wolfe said.

The Igloo is currently licensed to hold programming for as many as 15 children at a time, ages 2 1/2 to 6.

The new modular would bring several changes and benefits to the programming, including computer and internet access and aesthetics geared toward multiple age groups instead of the current design geared toward preschoolers.

The facility also could host more children and programming.

The rising cost of the facility is being attributed to a number of factors, including the building’s proposed location in a flood plain.

To meet flood-plain requirements, the city will need to spend an additional $72,000. That cost includes placing the new modular building 3 feet off of the ground and including a lift to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Other extra costs include $34,000 in additional contingencies and $20,000 for added costs from earth work and interior design.

Some council members wondered whether the Igloo could be placed in a different location that wouldn’t require the modifications to satisfy the flood-plain requirements.

City staff wants to replace the Igloo this year.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10