The Redmond parks and recreation department updated the city council on the status of the Redmond Senior Center (RSC) at its Dec. 3 regular meeting.
In January, council adopted the facilities strategic management plan that identified RSC’s mid-life improvements. The city identified RSC in the six-year capital investment program (CIP) for renovation and set aside $15 million for this work. Mid-life repairs and maintenance included the exterior envelope and mechanical systems.
In May, two stucco panels fell off the back exterior corner of the building, near the loading dock. The city contracted a structural engineering firm (KPG) in June for further assessment and inspectors confirmed extensive structural damage to the exterior walls and substantial impact on both the lateral and gravity systems. This evaluation and at the recommendation of the consultant (Swenson Say Faget), the city closed and vacated the RSC on Sept. 5 to allow for the ongoing investigation of the building interior, exterior and roof.
Carrie Hite, Redmond parks and recreation director, updated council on the center’s activity relocations and the next steps.
The timeline of the relocations began in September, right after the closure. Parks staff relocated programs, rentals and events to alternate locations with the goal to mitigate the impact customers and visitors, according to Hite. Senior activities are being held at City Hall in various rooms, the Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village (RCCMV), the Old Fire House Teen Center, the Public Safety Building, the art studio at Grass Lawn Park and St. Jude Catholic Church. The city has been able to continue most of the services for seniors at these various locations. The lunch program is held every Thursday at City Hall Bytes Cafe. Seniors are also encouraged to visit Bellevue and Kirkland’s food programs every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Come January 2020, Hite said staff will start transporting seniors from City Hall to RCCMV. The parks and recreation department continues to communicate and update seniors every Wednesday via snail mail, email and fliers that are located at every program relocation.
Building findings and repairs
In October, the city’s construction team contracted with HDR Engineering, Inc. to further evaluate the internal and external integrity of the building, roof, roof structure and framing and sheathing integrity. HDR’s work also included a cost estimate for renovations and a recommendation based on their experience and expertise. A final report was submitted to the city on Nov. 25.
HDR’s investigation found extensive water damage in the exterior walls of the building. The damage was from outdated and poor construction. The damage was not evident without multiple investigation openings cut into the tile, stucco, roof and interior walls. According to Eric Dawson, senior engineer for the city, the roof and interior wall structures were not damaged. The water intrusion came from wall penetrations (windows, vents, doors, trims) and caused damage to the structural stud walls and plywood sheathing behind the stucco and tile.
The consultant determined that the building should no be occupied until all structural repairs can be made to the entire building. At this point, partial repairs to the building are not an option. The consultant also determined the cost of the structural repairs combined with the cost of the renovation that is already programmed in the 2014-24 CIP. Dawson said the cost of the structural repairs is about $4 million to $5 million. Combined with the CIP renovation project, the total will be about $20 million to repair the building. The estimated cost to demolish and rebuild a new center is about $21 million.
The council was left with three possible options to consider.
The first option is to allocate additional funds and continue with the improvement plan, including structural integrity. This would be the renovation project of the current building. Option two is to allocate additional funds, demolish and rebuild. Several options are under the demolish and rebuild option like finding a senior center that is similar to RSC (same square footage and spot, except out of the critical area), or look at the community center’s report that the council adopted last year or look into a senior/community center with partnership opportunities. The last option is to demolish the center and absorb the programs in the current facilities. Hite said it’s estimated the center will re-open in two and a half years if renovated and three years if the center is demolished and rebuilt.
Many of the councilmembers including Hank Myers, Steve Fields, and Angela Birney agreed with the rebuild option for the center.
Parks staff will be working with a senior advisory committee and the recreation community stakeholder group to explore options to move forward. Staff will schedule another update with council in the first quarter of the new year to discuss policy direction for the RSC.
For more information, go to the council meeting agenda item online at www.redmond.gov/council.