Lansing City Council members got a look Thursday night at possible improvements to the Lansing Activity Center.
Two representatives from SFS Architecture, Kerry Newman and Steve Wise, presented results of a study of the buildings in that area. This includes the original high school building constructed in 1923, the gymnasium built in 1949, an addition and renovation in 1960, and the present site for parks and recreation, which relocated there in 2009.
Wise reviewed code requirements the building complex must meet if the renovation took place in more than 50 percent of the building area. Deficiencies he mentioned include the need for more toilets, the fact that it's not sprinkled, the absence of a guard rail on the interior stairs, and ventilation problems.
The building complex also doesn't meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in some places, Wise said, as two-thirds of the entrances have to be accessible and only one is. That there's no central entrance is also a potential security concern, he said.
One of the priorities, Newman and Wise said, is the need for a new gym floor, as it's reached the stage where no more maintenance is possible. Electrical and mechanical services also are not adequate for air-conditioning the gym, which they recommend, even if the council decides to do minimal work on the area.
They also suggested removing the existing raised stage on the gym floor to allow for more area for youth to use. Another recommendation was coming up with additional parking, which is currently limited.
The three concepts architects presented included a renovation, estimated to cost $4.2-$5 million; renovation/alteration, estimated at $7.5-$8.5 million; and new construction, which could run from $8.2-$9.2 million.
The second option would include renovation of the gym, tearing down the old high school and adding a new two-story addition. The third concept, new construction, could include buying land, because they envisioned it at a different site, which they said would allow more flexibility, future growth and more parking.
For interim steps, allowing for potential improvements over the next five years, Newman said the priority items would be a gym floor, estimated at $50,000; additional parking, estimated at $50,000;
reconfiguring the stage in the gym, $50,000; an electrical upgrade for the gym, $68,000; and HVAC for the gym, $150,000.
Overall, Newman said he thinks the gym could be a valuable asset to the city that could be used long-term. He said they didn't see any structural problems with it.
Council member Dave Trinkle asked whether the bleachers were OK and Newman said they didn't see any safety issues with them. He suggested they might sell parts of the old gym floor as it was replaced, and Newman called that a good fundraising idea.
Council member Andi Pawlowski said her personal concern was the gym, as it's used frequently.
Thursday was a work session so council members took no action on the recommendation.