By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — During the Jan. 24 Marshfield Common Council meeting, council members approved a motion to proceed with floor plan revisions and initiate the bidding process to begin work on the city’s new community center, which will take up residence at the Marshfield Public Library’s former location.
After negotiations fell out between the city and an anticipated tenant, the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC), at the end of 2016, there was unassigned space that needed addressing before renovation plans could move forward.
“Over the course of the time, several suggestions have come up for tenants, and some will likely be worth pursuing, but we don’t have anybody signed up yet to be a tenant in that building,” said Director of Public Works Dan Knoeck. “Meanwhile, the project kind of sits in limbo here until we have that resolved.
“So (what) the staff is suggesting is that the undefined space be left vacant for the time being, undeveloped, unfilled. That way it can be available for future use, whether that’s a tenant, whether it’s city use, but in the meantime we can get going with the larger project and get that built.”
Along with the ADRC’s 3,580 square feet of undefined space, changes in the design of the area were also suggested.
“The space that was allocated for ADRC was a little bit irregular, with some kind of a saw tooth shape,” said Knoeck. “If we were to do this and leave this vacant, we might suggest squaring (it) off somewhat so it is a little bit more of a regular shape but, again, not finishing that space at this point until we know what is going to be in there.”
In addition, Alderman Mike Feirer suggested squaring off the hallway to make an interior walking corridor for residents.
“We would work with our architect to come up with the best layout for that,” said Knoeck.
“We expect it to be a 90-day process to get through updated drawings, bid documents, bidding, and awarding of contract. … That would put us into an April-May time frame to award a contract with a target of possibly starting construction in June,” he added. “We are looking at a four-month renovation time period, so that puts us into an October completion.”
As part of the renovation, asbestos removal will render the community center building unusable for a specific time frame in which the work should be completed.
“Some of it is typical — the pipe insulation, your floor tile, and adhesives — and those are fairly routine to remove at any time, but what is not typical is the spray-on acoustical ceiling treatment that is in the old portion of the library. … About the front half was the original building from 1960, and that had a spray-on acoustical treatment that does contain asbestos,” said Knoeck. “The only way to remove that is to remove the plaster that is under that as part of that whole process. (This) means that lights come down. Sprinkler systems are affected. If there are any heating ducts, those things all come down. And until you have a plan of what is going to go back up there, basically you have a building that is not usable.”
Knoeck and Mayor Chris Meyer expressed the importance of having the asbestos removed after early April and before the end of May.
“That is something that is best to get done here before the summer,” said Meyer, “because summertime asbestos removal is heavily focused on schools, so better competitive pricing availability prior to summer.”
“The other factor is that this building still serves as a polling place, and there are elections scheduled in February and April,” Knoeck added.
A finalized renovation plan will now go to the Board of Public Works.
Mall lease renewed
In conjunction with the planned renovations, the Senior Center’s lease in the 6,000-square-foot former Hallmark space of the Marshfield Mall was extended.
The Senior Center will take up residence in the new community center and was relocated to the mall during construction of the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library and renovation of the previous library building.
“We did agree in the middle part of 2015 to an 18-month lease with two six-month extensions possible by mutual agreement of both parties,” said City Administrator Steve Barg.
The council approved the first six-month extension, which will provide the Senior Center a space through June 30, 2017.
“It will still be at the same rental rate of $3,000 per month, and we may have to go into the second half of the year as well,” added Barg.