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City plan would 'gut' Burdick building

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
April 5, 2012
— Converting a Milton industrial building for city use would require creating essentially a new structure, Milton City Administrator Jerry Schuetz said at a public information session about the plan Wednesday.

Schuetz presented the council with a breakdown of the city's existing facilities and outlined potential costs of the Burdick plan compared to building new facilities.


The city council last month directed city staff to get proposals on a feasibility study for the project. The proposals could be forwarded for council consideration April 17, Schuetz said.


The move is being pitched largely as a solution for space crunches the city has at its municipal offices.


Under earlier plans, the 80,000-square-foot Burdick building at Madison Avenue and Plumb Street would house City Hall, the police and fire departments, and the library.


The library, for example, has about 80,000 patrons a year, which makes it the busiest in Rock County, Schuetz said in a presentation to the city council.


ANGI Energy systems, the building's tenant, is moving to Janesville.


Schuetz first pitched the idea in the fall when the Milton School District was considering buying a building for its central offices.


The city offered the district the Shaw Municipal Building, which houses City Hall and the library, but the district decided to purchase the adjacent Daland building instead.


The whole project could cost $6.5 million to $8.5 million, according to estimates from a conceptual study of the plan last year by Angus Young Associates, an architectural firm.


A feasibility study of the project would show, among other things, the true costs of converting the Burdick building from industrial space to a municipal services facility. It would include a structural analysis of the building, parts of which date back to the 1930s.


Schuetz told the council Wednesday that changing over the building for city use would be a "gut and re-do" process.


"It's essentially a new building," Schuetz said.


A feasibility study also would analyze emergency response times to and from the Burdick building and whether it would be an appropriate location for the police and fire department.


The fire department has about 100 fire calls a year and 540 ambulance calls, according to city estimates. The police department has 10,000 calls for service annually.


The project would require input and buy-in from the town of Milton, which jointly operates the fire department.


Under a preliminary deal discussed by city officials and the building's owner, Badger Property Investments, the city would lease the building and pay rent down on the property.


Plans include space for a potential business incubator and a community center, both of which could be moneymakers for the city, Schuetz said.


Schuetz demonstrated how the costs of the Burdick plan contrasted with earlier plans.


For instance, a city study last year of a potential project to build a joint police-fire department facility would potentially have a price tag of $8 million to $10 million, including land acquisition and development.


The city estimates that it could cost another $200,000 to renovate the Shaw building to rework available space and maximize the building's use as a shared city hall and library, Schuetz said.


The Burdick plan does have downsides. If the city bought the building, it would be removed from the tax rolls, which would cost the city an estimated $15,000 in revenue.


Also, the city would have to decide how to handle the buildings it would vacate if it moved into the Burdick building.


BY THE NUMBERS

The following Milton municipal services are seeking space in the Burdick Building:


Milton Fire Department

614 W. Madison Ave.


Current size: 10,300 sq. feet Desired size: 30,000 sq. feet


Space at Burdick Building: 24,000-30,000 sq. feet


Milton Police Department

120 Parkview Drive


Current size: 6,300 sq. feet


Desired size: 30,000 sq. feet (includes garage, offices)


Space at Burdick building: 28,000 sq. feet


Milton City Hall

430 E. High Street


Current size: 5,000 sq. feet (includes vacant space)


Desired size:


7,000-9,000 sq. feet


Space at Burdick building: 7,000-9,000 sq. feet


Milton Public Library

430 E. High Street


Current size: 8,000 sq. feet


Desired size:


13,000-15,000 sq. feet


Space at Burdick Building: 13,800 sq. feet



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