By Nathan Ham
Watauga County Commissioners met on Tuesday and received an update on the new recreation center, including an increased budget and a timeline for construction.
According to Chad Roberson, an architect with Clark Nexsen, the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the construction of the project is $32,937,626 with a total project budget of $38,547,395. The budget total will include other costs not associated with the construction, including fees, survey costs, technology and equipment as well as furniture and fixtures.
A groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place on October 16.
The new recreation center will be constructed at the old Lowes building at the intersection of State Farm Road and Hunting Hills Lane. The center will include a gym with four multi-use courts, a track, a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool and multi-purpose rooms for exercise and fitness classes as well as parties and other social gatherings.
The current building, which had been used most recently as Appalachian State University’s Business Affairs Annex, will be demolished and according to Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque, the county received its demolition permit on Monday.
In March, Clark Nexsen’s original cost estimate for the project was right at $35 million with a completion date of May, 2020. According to the most recent estimate, the price increased over $3 million but did bring the completion date two months sooner than originally estimated.
Weather is always an issue in the High Country with any construction project. According to the Harper Corporation, the construction plans have factored in 72 days in a calendar year that will be considered lost days of work. Those days will either have rain accumulation over one-tenth of an inch, snow accumulation over one inch, high winds, days where the high temperature is below 35 degrees and days with mud or saturated soil due to heavy rain or snow melt.
Construction is scheduled to take 391 days to complete. The item-by-item budget cost list and construction schedule can be found here.
A special meeting of the Watauga Public Facilities Corporation is scheduled for Friday, September 21 at 10 a.m. at the County Manager’s Conference Room at the Watauga County Administration Building, located at 814 W. King Street, Boone. The meeting will pertain to the financing of the new recreation center.