MERIDEN — After plans for a new $1 million banquet facility at Hunter Golf Course didn’t get enough support from the City Council last month to win approval, the city now wants to hire an architectural firm to address councilors’ concerns about the aesthetics of the proposed building.
The council on Monday will consider a resolution to spend up to $120,000 to hire a firm to design schematics for a new facility that would cost between $1.3 million and $1.5 million.
The council in April authorized bonding $875,000 for the new facility, which will replace a seasonal tent that is used for events at the municipal golf course. Councilors later submitted a resolution to increase the project’s budget by $125,000 because a review committee overseeing designs didn’t think the appearance of the building it would have received for $875,000 would have reflected well on the golf course or the committee. The council ultimately rejected the request for an additional $125,000 because some councilors didn’t like the appearance of the facility it would have gotten for $1 million, while other councilors objected to increasing the project’s budget.
City Councilor Brian Daniels said it was clear from discussions that some councilors had a vision for what they wanted the facility to look like.
City Manager Tim Coon said having an architect design the project before putting it out to bid for construction will allow councilors to have more input “to get the vision of what they want to see.” The city previously put the project out to bid with a budget of $875,000 and essentially asked construction companies to present what they could build for that amount.
The city realized it underbudgeted after only one construction company, Meriden-based LaRosa Building Group, responded to its request-for-proposals earlier this year. The project proposed by LaRosa would have cost $1.7 million, about double the city’s intended budget.
The city plans to fund the $120,000 needed to hire an architectural firm by lowering the bonding previously authorized for the facility from $875,000 to $120,000, Coon said. Once architects have submitted their final designs and cost estimates, the council would then have to vote on whether to move forward with the project.
Coon said hiring an architect will likely add to the cost of the project, but said it’s hard to say by how much.
The council on Monday is also expected to vote on whether to bond an additional $405,000 for five new hangars at Meriden Markham Airport, according to the meeting agenda. The council to date has bonded just over $3 million for the hangars, however, cost estimates have come in higher than what the city expected. The council has to choose whether to increase the project’s budget by $405,000 or eliminate one of the five hangars.