Gurney's Inn
December 20, 2006

Flanders Community Center Reborn

Under budget and ahead of schedule.

The words are rarely heard when discussing a municipal project, but on Friday, Southampton Town Services Administrator Richard Blowes delivered good news to the town board at its work session.

Blowes updated the board on the ongoing Flanders Community Center renovation plan. Originally, he said, the project was expected to cost approximately $4 million; now estimates stand at about $3.5 million, up from the original bid of $2.9 million. A $600,000 amendment to the capital budget is required by the town board before the project can proceed.

The board is expected to vote on the resolution for the amendment at its December 27 town board meeting.

In addition, Blowes asked the board for a resolution to authorize the construction budget and a resolution enabling the demolition of the southern section of the building. Time is critical if interruption of services at the center is to be minimized and everyone moved back by the fall of 2007, he argued. Should the resolutions pass, demolition will begin the next day.

Although the plan was originally supposed to proceed in phases over three years, the work will now be complete in one year.

"By spending a few bucks more now and planning a more flexible building, we'll get more bang for the buck and save money," said Heaney.

Blowes reminded the budget should be revisited as the project proceeds. He said with the planning phase for the remodeling and expansion of the Flanders Community Center completed, the proposed 720,000 square foot center will have both senior and youth programs; the facility will also serve as an emergency evacuation center.

The new center has been designed, said Blowes, in a way that will allow for future expansion without interruption of proposed services by adding a wing in the northwest corner.

While work is being done, town services will be relocated to the Hampton Bays center. Staff and those utilizing the Flanders Community Center are all "very excited" about the plans, said Heaney. "Let's go."

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