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Amenities Master Plan takes shape in SCC

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A Community Association “blue ribbon committee” is recommending 10 possible projects for the retirement center’s near term amenities master plan.

By MELODY JAMESON

SUN CITY CENTER – Addressing what residents here pinpoint as their key issues, a Community Association “blue ribbon committee” is recommending 10 possible projects for the retirement center’s near term amenities master plan.

The nine-member committee also identified another eight potential projects for consideration in the longer term – beyond 2015. 

In addition, the committee named 18 items distilled from a comprehensive community survey conducted last summer as objectives not suited for consideration at the present time for a variety of reasons.

The 10 projects, with an estimated aggregate cost of a little over $2.2 million, range from a $12,000 improvement of outside lighting at the south side Community Hall auditorium to a big ticket new entertainment building on the central campus.   In between are construction of such features as a central campus café, a visitors center facing North Pebble Beach Blvd. added walking trails and directional signage.

In its report submitted last week, the committee characterized the proposed entertainment building as conceptually similar to the existing Florida Room in the central campus Atrium complex.  The Florida Room, the committee noted, is in constant demand during the peak season, this year reserved continuously through November and December.

The new structure would provide on demand either two large meeting rooms, separated by a moveable soundproof wall, with each able to seat 90, or a single facility accommodating at least double that number, the committee envisioned.  The new building also would include a kitchen. The group estimated the cost at $950,000.

To capitalize on and maximize this investment of funds, the committee plugged in additional club rooms, including one dedicated as a dance studio, along the edges of the new entertainment building.  They also proposed consideration of additional parking space on the central campus in conjunction with the new construction. 

Committee members pegged the estimated cost of adding club rooms at $250,000 and suggested the increased parking area, including widening of North Course Lane, would run about $400,000. 

Two more construction projects – the new café and replaced visitors center -  would come in at lower costs, the committee estimated.  The café, mentioned as desirable in every community survey taken in recent years and located within the Atrium complex, would be the greater of the two – about $325,000, the committee said.  

Its members also indicated that several objectives could be attained by building a new facility for visitors and potential buyers coming to the community on the southeast corner of the Cherry Hills-Pebble Beach intersection,  then relocating the current security patrol headquarters to the freestanding former visitors center further east on Cherry Hills and expanding the current Community Association offices into space opened up by the relocated patrol.   Such moves,  they suggested, would give each of the three organizations much needed additional space for their vital functions while requiring new construction of just one building.

Other projects listed by the committee for short term consideration included construction of walking trails with an estimated price tag of $5,000, installation of programmable thermostats and motion detectors for lighting control in various rooms for about $2,000 and better directional signage  pointing residents to club locations, recreational features and the like at a cost of about $3,000. 

The two latter projects – aimed at making rooms more energy efficient and enhancing ease of movement around the campuses - actually already are underway, said Ed Barnes, CA board president.  The signage effort has been underwritten in part by a grant obtained through the Hillsborough County Neighborhood Relations office, he added.     

Among the eight longer term projects for future consideration, as listed by the committee, are a new 400-seat theater, a new library, acquisition of the North Lakes Golf Course should it become available, a lake suited to water sports, an outdoor exercise area, modernization of building facades and new CA offices.   

The cost of a new theater to replace existing Rollins Theater – now occupied at just 85 percent capacity, they said – would run to at least $2 million.  And to increase attendance will require a strong marketing effort outside of SCC, the committee added.   

More than 15 potential projects mentioned in the high response community survey conducted last summer and unveiled in October by a University of Tampa professor did not make the committee’s recommended  list for a number of reasons, they noted.  Building hurricane shelters, for example, would be cost prohibitive and mandated for use by non-residents, WiFi access already exists in the Atrium and Community Hall facilities and an improved CA website has been undertaken.  Other notions such as a South Campus pool and a children’s pool and an archery range and an outdoor amphitheater generated low acceptance in  the survey, the committee  said, and in most cases could not be arranged due to lack of sufficient space.

Barnes, reviewing the committee’s report this week, characterized the listed short and long term projects as a combination of upgrades and improvements comprising a master plan for potential implementation on a phased basis.  The central campus café, for instance, would be an upgrade to facilities while a new theater would be a capital improvement, he said.  The CA board president also noted that any project costing more than 15 percent of the CA annual budget would require membership approval by vote.  That cap on board expenditure without voted approval currently is $400,000, he added. 

The committee, charged with prioritizing survey results, studying various approaches and providing a “guesstimate cost” for identified projects where possible, was led by Bob Deutel. Members were: Jim Duffy, Art Erickson, Bob Guzinsky, George Lott, Barb Mignogna, Cheryl Sari, Don Schang and Joy Sparkman. 

Barnes said he expects to discuss the committee’s recommendations in detail during the Community Association’s formal annual meeting on January 2, 2013.  “It will be a deliberate process,“ he asserted, “ we’ll layout a clearly understood plan.”

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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