The Winters Senior Commission on Aging did not have a quorum at its Wednesday, March 8 meeting, and instead shared updates from local organizations and engaged in discussion without taking any official actions.
City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa informed Commissioners about the status of the City’s efforts to obtain the plans for the Winters Senior Center building.
The Winters Senior Center project has been held up for two years first due to the pandemic shutdown, and second due to the fact that the City did not have the legal right to use the originally drawn building plans. This meant the City was unable to incorporate the new 2023 code energy updates. The City was also unable to obtain bids for the project.
Domas originally anticipated building both the Blue Mountain Terrace senior apartments and the Senior Community Center. However, the project ran short of funding and the Senior Center had to be split off to allow the construction of the apartments to finish. They continued to design the Senior Center with the understanding the City would pay them once they obtained grant funding. When the Senior Center project became a “public works project,” state laws prevented Domas from bidding on the project because they had designed it.
Domas Management Company was working with City staff to obtain a signature from the original architect, who drafted the plans to sign them over to Domas. In January, Trepa told Commissioners the City met with the original architect in September, who had since been silent.
However, on Wednesday, Trepa said the owner of the architectural plans had given his final answer.
“He is not signing a release for the plans,” Trepa said.
Trepa continued that Domas said they would waive the unpaid amount of $130K associated with the design of the Senior Center and consider it a loss. Domas did provide the building information to the City, so whoever takes the project on will be able to use it to redraw the plans with the updated codes and requirements, including the two building code changes since the center was designed and add on an emergency generator.
Trepa said securing an architect is the City’s first next step to get the Senior Center project back into action.
“We now need to move rather quickly to show that we are now making forward momentum,” Trepa said. “All this time has been associated with trying to get control of the plans, figuring out how much we owe Domas, and how to move forward since the project was split.”
According to Trepa, anything above the amount of $130K originally owed to Domas would be the related fiscal impact, but she was unsure of what the costs would be. She also noted that while they hope to see a ground-breaking in about six to nine months after City Council awards a project bid, material delays could cause big issues.
The next Winters Senior Commission on Aging meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Large Conference Room (Abbey Street entrance).
Commissioners will revisit the development of Senior Programming at the Winters Community Center and discuss a possible change in the start time of it’s regular meeting.