Boone County gets first look at concept design for new park’s $6 million office

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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The Boone County Fiscal Court heard a presentation Thursday for a conceptual design for a new park’s department office.

The purpose of the presentation was to give the fiscal court an idea of the capital project so they could decide whether to add the item to the capital budget, as it is an estimated $6.1 million project. The presentation was not final, and no vote was taken.

According to Boone County Administrator Jeff Earlywine, Michael Wolff, and Jim Guthrie with Hub + Weber Architects have been working with the county and the parks department to help “evaluate numerous deficiencies” with their existing facilities. The proposed facility would be utilized for maintenance and operations at the park department.  

By working with Earlywine, Boone County Assistant Administrator Matthew Webster, and Boone County Parks Director David Whitehouse, Wolff said they identified that they needed a place where everyone could work together under one roof but do it practically and cost-effectively. Wolff said they held workshops with park staff to identify the different needs among office staff and those working in the field.

According to Whitehouse, the parks department currently works out of five different buildings, and they don’t have things like a proper training room or breakroom.

“It became apparent to us kind of from the beginning that we needed a building that we could have sort of a large storage and workspace for the trucks and the workshops in part of it and then also the office space that the administrative staff can work out, a shared break room, a training room,” Wolff said.  

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Items listed in the concept plans were:

  • Offices
  • Lobby
  • Training room
  • Conference rooms
  • Break room
  • Service bays
  • Equipment, supplies, materials, and surplus storage
  • Locker rooms with showers
  • Vehicular and outdoor materials storage

As for the exterior of the building, Wolff said that early on, they landed on a pre-engineered metal building which he said is an efficient way to do large open spaces with a column-free interior. The proposed building is roughly 30,000 square feet plus approximately 4,000 square feet in covered storage on the second floor.

Rendering of the park office building. Photo provided | Hub + Weber presentation

“They can be designed and constructed efficiently from a cost perspective and a construction perspective,” Wolff said. “But there are still a lot of interesting things you can do with the exterior.”

Hub + Weber designed a landscape barrier around the property’s perimeter to buffer the surrounding neighborhoods.

The proposed landscape buffer. Photo provided | Hub + Weber presentation

Wolff said the building is a typical pre-engineered metal building structure that you see in many industrial sites; however, they spent more time designing the entrance to make it more prominent.

“We felt like it was important to kind of create a nice entry to emphasize the importance and prominence of the park system in Boone County,” Wolff said. “Something that not only the public, the citizens of Boone County can be proud of but also the staff members that work there and potential staff members.”

Webster spoke on the budget aspects of the project.

He said the county reviewed all the work by Hub + Weber and had opportunities to ask questions and challenge them on items to ensure functionality was well fleshed out.

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“We sat down with David and his team again and really started to evaluate the most critical elements of this to make sure we don’t impact function and what elements could we maybe do without,” Webster said.

The cost to build the structure is $6.1 million, along with a separate line item in the budget of $2.1 million for site preparation and remediation. Webster said the county has “adequate capital reserves” in its capital fund for the project.

“There’s some space built into this plan for the future, but with our growth and development, it’s not excessive,” Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore said. “When you look at other buildings, I think a 6.1 (million) budget for the number of citizens that this department touches day in and day out is a very reasonable request.”

Webster said the $2.1 million line item was separated because things need to be done to the site even if the county chose not to proceed with the project.

Items included in the site preparation include:

  • Relocation and de-commission of the current animal shelter—shelter is deteriorating. HVAC systems are failing, sanitary line blockages, etc.
  • Erosion issues
  • Grading
  • Moving the impound yard off-site (estimated cost of $350,000)
  • Remediation of existing site issues

“We certainly recognize the level of commitment and investment that we’re asking from the court on this very important project,” Webster said. “It’s a big-league project. The parks department serves thousands of our citizens every year. David has a lot of functions in his department, but parks-related and non-parks have a lot of staff and a lot of things to manage. And that’s going to require a facility that provides him with the space to do that.”

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Earlywine said that should the project move forward, they would look into scheduling a meeting with the surrounding neighborhoods to share with them what they’re doing and why.

“If the court were inclined to include this in the budget, we’d simply take it to the next level in terms of schematic design to a more detailed design and really refine our plans, our opinion of cost, and bring that back to the court at a later date,” Earlywine said.

Moore said he didn’t know of other capital projects that would rank higher regarding other capital requests around the county than addressing this issue.

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