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Beach Beacon
Municipal complex gets final OK
Construction of $10 million Madeira project could begin in January
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[Image]
Illustration courtesy of WANNEMACHERJENSEN ARCHITECTS
This is an artist’s rendition of how the new Madeira Beach City Hall will look like at ground level.
[Image]
Illustration courtesy of WANNEMACHER JENSEN ARCHITECTS
A view of what the proposed Madeira Beach City Hall building will look like by night.
MADEIRA BEACH – Amid accolades from city staff, commission members and a roomful of residents, final approval was given for a multimillion-dollar remake of the Maderia Beach municipal center complex.

The project’s authorization to proceed came at a special meeting Dec. 12 at City Hall.

“This is a momentous occasion,” said City Manager Shane Crawford at the outset. He told the commission they would be seeing the final design of the project and a guaranteed maximum price.

“If you approve this, the months of planning and discussion will come to a halt. You’re done. We’re here. We’ll be ready to go,” he said.

The commission’s unanimous vote of approval came following a presentation of the project design elements by Jason Jensen of Wannemacher Jensen Architects, Inc. The firm has guided the project since the unveiling of the first plans in the summer of 2012.

Jensen used 3-D graphics to give a multi-dimensional look as he described the project’s scope and final design.

Every element, he said, was put together according to the master plan and done in an efficient manner. A key was to take full advantage of the site’s waterfront location, and to organize the elements to be interconnected in a shady park-like setting with walkways along the water.

Recreation facilities

The recreation complex will have ball fields of the correct size for Little League and tournament play, and a multi-purpose field that can be used for soccer. There also will be basketball and tennis courts, a concession stand, playground area and a dog park separated for small and large dogs. All the fields will be in one area, along with the new recreation building.

Jensen said the recreation facility would be a lot more attractive to potential tournament and event holders by containing not just the fields, but amenities such as the fitness center.

The large multi-purpose field was designed for sports such as soccer or for big events like the King of the Beach tournament, Jensen said. Two or more events can be held simultaneously in the complex.

The recreation building, on the east end of the property, will focus on the water, Jensen said. The front will have a lot of glass, with every room facing the water, leading out to a covered patio. It will be a rentable space, suitable for weddings and other activities, with a kitchen.

The west side of the rec center will serve as a band shell, with a wall where movies and videos can be projected to outside audiences. A pavilion area will have both outside and covered space where activities can be held during inclement weather.

City hall

The new city hall offices will be connected to commission chambers and the multi-purpose public building by an outdoor deck, which Jensen describes as being reminiscent of the John’s Pass waterfront boardwalk.

The city hall will have flexible office space that can be reconfigured, as the city’s needs change. The office space is actually less than now, but it is more efficient, Jensen said. All offices will face the water.

Changes to the previous design of the building include a pod-shaped commission chambers that Jensen said would be “an icon for Madeira Beach,” and a walk-through area at ground level below the deck level that allows easy access to the waterfront path.

The public building will have a multi-purpose room for activities and a fitness center. The sloping lawn besides the building will form an amphitheater with a “civic square” by the water for events.

A public pathway along the water, landscaped with palms and other native plantings, will front the entire municipal complex from city hall to the rec center.

Fire station

The new fire station will face City Hall and have an entry/egress separate from the other facilities.

It will feature state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, secure living quarters for the firefighters with easy access to the fire truck bays. The firefighters will have their own exercise room and an outdoor patio area.

Jensen described the station as “very efficient.”

The cost

The guaranteed maximum price to build the municipal complex was put at $10.3 million, up from an $8 million to $9 million range estimated last year. Contractor Mark Stalker of Hennessy Construction Services said the increase was due to pilings that must be used to elevate the buildings and increases in construction prices.

However, City Manager Shane Crawford said that despite the higher cost to construct the complex, the city would actually be paying less than originally planned because of lower financing costs. The city issued bonds in October at a time when rates were favorable.

Citizen reaction

Residents who commented on the municipal complex presentation appeared to be impressed by what they saw.

Drake Philbrook, who recently moved to the city, said the project is an example of Madeira Beach “leading the way.”

“We are excited by all the new projects that are moving the city into the future,” he said.

Robin Stach said “Everybody feels good about this.”

“You should be applauded for this,” said Robert Shaw.

Michelle Smith, a former U.S. Olympic softball pitcher who lives in Treasure Island, said the new ball fields provide a tremendous opportunity for young athletes.

“It’s exciting to see something so progressive moving forward,” Smith said. “I hope other communities will follow you.”

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the design and guaranteed maximum price for the new city complex, giving it the go-ahead to proceed. Crawford said the project, when finished, “is going to be something so beautiful, you won’t believe it.”

Crawford said after the meeting that construction of the complex could begin as soon as mid-January, with a completion date 14-16 months thereafter.
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