City to determine cost of adding showers to community building at request of fair board

OSAGE CITY – It’s back to the drawing board for renovations to Osage City’s community building, after council members asked that showers be added to the plans to accommodate livestock exhibitors at the annual county fair and livestock shows.

Earlier this month, after hearing a request from fair board members to add the showers, the city council agreed to invite USD 420 Superintendent Troy Hutton to the Oct. 22 council meeting to discuss the request for the addition to the school district’s ongoing facilities improvement project.

At last week’s meeting, Osage City Mayor Quintin Robert reminded council members they had previously met with school officials and fair board members to discuss plans for the community building and “showers weren’t included.”

Questioned by council members, Hutton confirmed the community building plans had not gone to bid yet, and the architectural firm, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, had drawn up some preliminary plans that included shower rooms in the restrooms.

“There is going to be some additional cost to that, as well as with the planning for that,” Hutton said.

Kenton Cox, of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, said the firm had considered another plan for adding a shower in the already planned family restroom, which would add approximately $2,000 to the community building’s renovation. Osage County Fair Association board member Derald Stromgren told the council that option wouldn’t be desirable because one person using the shower could tie up the family restroom for long period of time.

Cox said the other option of adding showers to the restrooms could add an additional $12,000 to $15,000 to the project depending on bids.

“We’d sure be glad to do that to see the pricing come in,” Cox said of developing the new plans.

USD 420 Board Member Cindy Cook questioned why the livestock pavilion didn’t have restrooms with showers. Osage City Council Member Bruce Schoepflin answered that the building had been gutted by the city due to mold, and restrooms had not been reinstalled.

“We thought the school would put showers in,” Schoepflin said of the plan to build new locker rooms adjacent to the community building.

Cook said the school board had wanted to include new locker rooms in the project, but didn’t because of the cost. “We needed other things more,” Cook said.

With Schoepflin saying now would be the time to add the showers to the project, Cook objected, saying “something would have to go.”

“This would take away from our kids,” Cook said, “so we can have showers out in the community building, where only a small percent of the population will use it.”

“If you all want to do this, we’d need some help,” Cook said, indicating the school board did not want to pay for showers to be added to the project.

Osage City Council Member Linda Carson said she thought the showers were important for the community.

“I think a lot of people voted for that locker room and community building,” Carson said. “It’s not the city’s fault there’s not enough money.”

After discussion about the district’s shortfall in the $6.77 million bond issue approved by USD 420 patrons in April 2012, Cox noted it wasn’t from cost overruns, but due to $600,000 in FEMA funds the district did not obtain. He said FEMA’s change in policy had cut funding for all school storm shelters across the state of Kansas.

With Osage City Council Member Leroy Stromgren saying he would like to proceed with the change of plans to determine the cost of the showers, the council agreed. Cox said bids should be received for the project by Thanksgiving and the showers would be added to the bid specifications as an alternate project.

“We’ll see what the price is and is it a good expense of money and where does that money come from,” Cox said.

In other business during the meeting, the council agreed to amend the city’s building codes to allow the school district to construct a new gymnasium without adding a sprinkler system. Without the sprinkler system, the newly adopted codes prohibit the use of the gymnasium for any purpose except sporting events or as a storm shelter.

In other action, council approved a decision held over from a previous meeting, authorizing up to $35,000 more to be paid in inspection fees for the ongoing dam rehabilitation project, which has exceeded its construction schedule.

The council also agreed, on a motion from Stromgren, seconded by council member Duane Peroo, to authorize the city’s parks department to purchase two pickup trucks from Kansas Surplus Property in the amount of $27,500.

The council also held a 10-minute executive session, on a motion from Osage City Council Member Becky Brewer to discuss the subject of “legal matters” behind closed doors. The council did not offer any justification for closing the meeting, and took no action afterward. The Kansas Open Meeting Act requires governing bodies to state the justification for closing a meeting and state the subjects to be discussed during the closed meeting.


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