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Converting armory would cost $500K more than new

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Converting the current National Guard Armory for city offices and the police department would cost about $500,000 more than constructing a new building, the McCook City Council learned Monday night.

The council reviewed costs of rehabbing the armory with Jim Classe, an architect with the Omaha-based Prochaska and Associates, via a conference call Monday night at the regular council meeting.

The building will be vacated when the Nebraska National Guard moves to a new facility near McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport. This may take up to four years, as the Nebraska National Guard will be responsible for removing lead contamination in the building.

Prochaska gave preliminary estimates of $3.3 to $3.7 million to convert the armory, including estimated inflation costs.

The 1955 building has 19,141 gross square feet and Prochaska estimated the square foot needs of city offices and the police department would be 17,352 square feet.

The building appears to be structurally sound, Classe said, with no major structural issues such as masonry cracks. But there were concerns about load bearing walls on each of the two levels, he said, that would impact how to lay out the interior.

The second floor of the building also would have to be used to accommodate needed space.

Counciman Mike Gonzales asked how the heating and cooling costs at the armory compared with a new building and Classe answered that it would be "fairly equivilent."

Both Councilmen Lonnie Anderson and Aaron Kircher commented on the long wait for the building, with Kircher noting that with inflation, it would be hard to budget for.

Councilman Kircher also questioned square footage needs estimated for city offices and the police department in a new building, identifying eight offices he thought could be reduced in size to save about $60,000.

"It's not just how much we spend but what we spend it on, which is just as important," he reasoned. Offices he thought could be reduced in size included those for the police chief, city manager, a conference room, a sargent, utility director and building inspector.

Councilman Jerry Calvin and Gonzales said this scrutiny was premature, especially since the council has not yet decided what and if new buildings will be built.

No firm decision has been made by the council concerning new buildings for the city fire department, city offices or police department, other than at the Feb. 1 meeting when they unanimously voted not to pursue rehabbing the West Ward building.

McCook citizen Dale Cotton of the "West Ward Committee" passed out pictures to the council of a school in Hastings and hospital in North Platte that were converted to new uses.

He said the committee has a petition that asks the rehabilitation of West Ward be considered an option and that it brought to the vote of the citizens.

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Oh, now Kircher wants to be frugal with spending money on offices. Yes, this is premature. But why wasn't he "frugal" when spending money on a new website? Oh well. Seems to me like the Government wants people to get involved with refurbishing buildings and homes however when it's the actual government spending the money, they'd rather bull doze and build new. That's a great way to set examples for a children. Get rid of the old, put in the new. Who cares about history. Seems to me like West Ward is the best solution. yes, it may cost a little more than building new, but it's less than refurbishing the Armory. And, it's saving history. The only people right now that are coming out ahead are the architects.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 1:37 PM

How did the cost to remodel jump so high to the $500k range? Earlier it was said the new cost would be $3,546,040 plus $150K to demolish West Ward for a total of $3,696,040. Cost to remodel even figuring inflation is $3,300,000. My math says that the city would SAVE $396,040 to remodel.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 4:01 PM

Councilman spending $15k on one project and saving $60k on another project and you don't approve? Call your councilman. Don't know how council reaches their figures? Call your councilman. God bless democracy.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 5:19 PM

Wow! Talk about jumping over a dollar to save a dime. dennis has his pencil sharpened and has correct figures.

Who came up with this figure of costing $500K? If the city can give a $500k loan to a firm wanting to upgrade in the Keystone, they could spend the funds to make our Public Safety Center work in the armory building. The city council should stop trying to jam these ideas down the public's throat to make it look good for them. There is a limit to what can be spent. The public is tired of this flashy upgrades and having to pay for it in taxes. I think this stimulus program put blinders on them and they can't see what is going on around them. Or is all this money burning a hole in their pockets and they have to get rid of it before it does??

-- Posted by edbru on Tue, Apr 6, 2010, at 10:03 PM


You need to get informed. The city didn't loan $500k to a firm wanting to upgrade in the keystone. When you make a public statement, make sure your facts are correct. Otherwise you just look stupid.

"Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience"

-- Posted by boojum666 on Sat, Apr 10, 2010, at 11:36 PM

The city got the loan for them through the Dept. of Economic Development for $505K on a Community Development Block Grant. 21st Century Systems will repay half ($250K) back and the other half will be forgiven with the creation of 21 new jobs. The money paid back will go to state and government entities with the city not involved at all. $5000 will be paid to the city for administrative purposes due to handling the paperwork to do this.

Yes, I know what I'm talking about. I'm not going to argue with you......

-- Posted by edbru on Sun, Apr 11, 2010, at 8:49 AM

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