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Designing retirees may put their marks on new buildings

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image Architect Carlos Molnar

This is the first time in the community’s 50-year history that resident input has been sought about the buildings they will use.


SUN CITY CENTER – If you’re an inveterate “better mouse trap” builder, there’s a community association committee here that wants to hear from you resident creative thinkers.

As design of proposed structures anchoring the central campus capital improvements moves from concept phase to formalized planning, an ad hoc committee is taking shape to serve as conduit between participating residents and professional architect.

Their objective is collection of all the sketches, illustrative photographs and ideas in narrative form that Sun City Center Community Association members want to contribute for a review aimed at developing a consensus design that can be implemented architecturally.

The short term committee, announced this week by the CA to function through the design process, will be led by Directors Al Alderman and Howie Griffin, according to Ed Barnes, CA president.   Noting the considerable  amount of talent residing in Sun City Center, Barnes added that he figures   several individual CA members with pertinent experience will be interested in joining the directors for the review procedure.

The CA leader pointed out the community is home to a wide array of retired professionals, including those coming from the worlds of architecture, engineering, graphic arts, site planning and related fields of endeavor.  “Many of these folks already have their vision of the renewed campus and have said so at the community meetings we held on the long term plan,” Barnes said.  “Now I hope they will come forward and bring their ideas for the building appearances with them.”

The same sentiment was expressed by Carlos Molnar, principal architect with SOL Design Studio in Tampa which developed the preliminary campus concepts that initiated community conversations about the project. Molnar emphasized it is very common and generally expected in every project process that the preliminary designs are adjusted, revised, polished and refined as clients consider and reconsider elements. It’s a natural result of the procedure, he suggested, and the factor that makes the first design merely a preliminary one. 

The architect said he would encourage the collection of design ideas from throughout the community and indicated he is looking forward to the review results.    

Chuck Collett, CA director as well as current board vice president, also pointed out the participatory design process being offered association members is the first time in the community’s 50-year history that resident input has been sought about the buildings they will use.  “And we are listening,” he added.

Barnes suggested that members with design ideas to contribute and who want to take part contact the CA office, ask to be added to the architectural design committee roster and provide their names along with telephone numbers.  “Alderman and Griffin will take it from there,” he added. 

“The only requirement is that input be positive,” he asserted.  “It won’t serve any constructive purpose to simply register a dislike, but for those who have an idea to describe or a sketch to offer, bring it on.” 

The process to refine  designs, of course, depends on the outcome of a CA membership vote set for February 13 and 14.  With balloting on those dates, members will give up or down support to the proposed campus improvements including two new structures and a café in Atrium Plaza as well as to a financing plan that could involve a construction loan for $3 million to be repaid over 10 years from fees accruing each time a home is purchased by a community newcomer. 

If the membership agrees to move ahead on their campus makeover and approves the financing plan underpinning it, Barnes said, “we’ll immediately shift into high gear with the community-generated design process.”   The CA president said he’d like to have the final design by the end of June.  Groundbreaking is tentatively set for November.

The next community meeting is scheduled for 7 PM Wednesday, February 8, in Community Hall.    

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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