Thursday, October 29, 2015

Guest View-Brian Selvy: Revisiting the Cost of a New Community Center

The recalled incumbents vastly overstate the cost of of  a real community center
The "Majority 4" continue to say that a new community center which meets the expectations of Oro Valley residents would cost over $20 Million. Mary Snider mentioned the $20 Million figure again recently, and this was not based on her own research but what a landscape architect told her. A landscape architect isn't the most qualified person to make such an estimate.

Architekton Designed Community Center
Not $20 million but $10 million
Tempe-based Architekton is an architectural design firm that has successfully designed and built many community and recreation centers, YMCAs, and multi-generational centers all over Arizona. They successfully built centers for diverse clients for $90 to $215 per square foot. Even taking into inflation, these centers could all be built for less than $250 per square foot today.

In 2014, the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommended a 40,000 square foot recreational center. At even the overly conservative price of $250 per square foot, Oro Valley could build a customized community center for $10 Million. At $200 per square foot, which is reasonable, the center would cost $8 Million.

Snider inflates the numbers
To put in perspective how unrealistic and inflated Snider's $20 million number is, consider this: A $20 Million, 40,000 square foot recreation center would come out to $500 per square foot - an absurd price that doesn't pass the giggle test. As a comparison, two LEED Certified Silver
health and wellness complexes at Arizona State University (which require special green building materials and processes) were built for $310 and $335 per square foot, respectively.

A old clubhouse is not what the residents want in a community center
Let's also look at the other aspect of the Snider's statement: We'd have to spend $20 Million to get what Oro Valley residents desired.

Let's break this down. First of all, this implies that the 30 year old El Con racquetball club building is what residents desire: An old building that has converted racquetball courts, a dance studio with 8' high ceilings, workout equipment in hallways, and a non-ADA compliant structure. That in no way is what Oro Valley residents desire.

Second, take a look at the Architekton designed buildings for yourself: these include custom community meeting rooms, indoor sports courts, indoor tracks, fitness facilities, etc. They are what residents of a prestigious town such as Oro Valley want.

Snider's claim that it would take $20 million to give the residents of Oro Valley what they want in a community center is yet another blatant example of the M-4 generating an El Con cover story that doesn't hold water.
Brian Selvy has lived in Oro Valley for 5 years. He and his wife moved here from a suburb of Los Angeles and chose to settle down in Oro Valley due to the abundant natural beauty, small town feel, good schools, public safety, and slower pace of life. He has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an M.S. degree in Systems Architecting and Engineering from the University of Southern California. He and his wife spend the majority of their free time enjoying the constant whirlwind of activity associated with having two young children. Additionally, he enjoys helping coach his daughter's teeball team, hiking, working out, gardening, and reading. Some of his favorite local activities are hiking in the Catalina and Tortolita Mountains and enjoying evenings on the patio at Noble Hops, preferably sipping on a local beer from Dragoon.

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