Janesville36.9°

Costs for Janesville ice arena renovations shoot past reserve

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
December 10, 2011
— Basic renovations to the city ice arena would cost more than the city has borrowed for the project, according to final design estimates.

The council set aside $2.08 million for renovations that include a new roof and new ice-making equipment.


But new estimates that include a traditional ice-making system total $2.44 million. A staff-recommended geothermal system would cost an additional $100,000, or a total of $2.54 million.


The geothermal equipment would take advantage of the cold water in nearby Lions Beach and be cheaper to operate. Staff estimates annual savings of $21,364 with the geothermal system.


The Janesville Ice Arena at 821 Beloit Ave. was built in the mid-1970s and needs major work.


The ice-making equipment, which is a large component of the remodeling, breaks down regularly, and arena users are crossing their fingers it lasts one more season.


Council members in February authorized the city to spend up to $160,000 for architectural designs to improve the ice arena at a cost of between $1.3 million to $3 million.


The council already has borrowed $2 million for renovations. It also has $180,000 from an Energy Efficiency Community Development Block grant.


The council was scheduled to decide the extent of renovations after bids were returned in February.


But Eric Levitt, city manager, said he is bringing the ice-making equipment discussion to the council Monday for several reasons.


First, the project already totals more than expected, and the council might decide to reduce its size.


Also, the architect recommended ice-making equipment be chosen before the project is put out for bids because the equipment affects the design.


The energy-efficiency grant must be used before year’s end. The equipment should be ordered as soon as possible to be ready for construction in April.


The work would be finished in time for hockey and figure skating season in September.


The Janesville Plan Commission on Monday studied three design alternatives for the building.


The base bid—the one projected to cost about $2.44 million with traditional equipment or $2.54 million with geothermal equipment—includes a new roof and an additional 1,950 square feet for a new mechanical storage room. The current mechanical space would be renovated into locker rooms.


A second option increases total additional space to 3,150 square feet and includes new locker rooms for the Janesville Jets.


A third option brings total new space to 7,800 square feet. It would include a segment built on the northeast side of the building for seating, restrooms, a concession stand and programming space.


On the agenda

The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. An informational listening session with council members is scheduled for 6 p.m.


Items on the agenda include:


-- A public hearing on a $10 wheel tax that is included in the 2012 budget. The council must approve an ordinance to levy the per-vehicle fee. It is doubtful at this point that the council would change its choice because it would have to find $550,000 in the 2012 budget if the fee is not approved. The vote for the 2012 budget was 4-2, with Councilman Sam Liebert referencing the wheel tax for his negative vote.


-- Authorization to spend $1.53 million to buy an 84-acre site located at 4021 S. Highway 51 for a possible new business. The money would come from TIF funds. City Manager Eric Levitt suggests the council authorize him to buy the land contingent upon a development agreement.


-- Continued discussion on a roundabout at the intersection of East Milwaukee Street and Wuthering Hills Drive. The project would be paid for with $395,000 from the state and $220,000 from the city. Some residents believe that changes west of the intersection have improved safety. The intersection does not meet standards for traffic signals, so traffic lights would have to be paid for by the city. Staff believes signals eventually will be needed when development occurs to the east. By that time, grants for traffic control might not be available, according to a city memo. The city would have to reimburse the state $78,000 if a roundabout is not built. Staff determined there is no liability to the city if the city does not make further safety improvements and an accident happens at the site.



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