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Community Center cost could top $13 million

$13 million is the estimated price tag for a Farragut community center.

That was the number presented by Farragut’s Community Center Study Committee during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen workshop Thursday, Feb. 24.

“This will bring a unique identity and focal point to the Town,” committee chair Jerome Miller told the Board.

The committee advocated a center that would include an indoor swimming pool complex, gymnasium, banquet hall with stage and a multi-purpose meeting space and resource center. The center amenities were decided following a series of public meetings and surveys, and those facilities were voted the most popular.

A community center with those amenities likely would come in around 80,000 square feet, Miller said, and could cost about $13 million to design and construct.

That doesn’t include the price of whatever property on which the community center might be placed.

“And that’s very important. Location, location, location,” Miller said.

He recommended a plot of about five to 10 acres centrally located near schools, parks and with access to major roads in the Town.

Miller conceded $13 million was quite a hefty sum, but advocated the building of a community center in stages, and raising money through fund-raising drives and corporate sponsors.

“It would take time to get all this together,” Miller said.

Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill said “a very successful fundraising drive would have to take place” in order for any community center to be built.

Committee members said the Town might have more luck doing a fundraising drive that relied on small donations from many regular citizens rather than large donations from business owners and corporations.

In the meantime, the committee advocated the Board do a feasibility study during 2011, which would come in at a cost of about $45,000.

“The town of Farragut needs a community center. It’s a common ground ... and we can show off what we’ve got. It has value,” Miller said.

“‘How much’ is not as important as ‘how valuable,’” he added.

The community center study committee will return to the Board with its final report in May. No vote was taken.

The Board didn’t vote on any of the recommendations; the workshop was discussion only.


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