Letters with the below information were sent to all Utility customers at the end of December.
Q. Why is Ridgeway buying the former RES building from the Dodgeville School Board?
A. When the Dodgeville School Board closed the school in the spring of 2020, the Dodgeville board offered the school building to the Village of Ridgeway with the first rights of refusal to purchase the building for the community’s use. This offer allowed the village the opportunity to protect and preserve the future state of the building vs. Dodgeville selling the building without any vested interest.
The community was surveyed in June & July to understand initial interest in the building and potential usage. Of the survey respondents, 55.9% strongly supported and 22.9% supported the purchase of the building and the input focused on community services to benefit all groups in the community with centralized municipal services, a library, senior center, business center, available conference rooms, etc.
The village board then partnered with Strang Engineering to conduct a feasibility study on the structure of the building, the ability to renovate and determine potential amenities the building could offer both short term and long term. With the immediate need including the continued housing of the Marshal’s office, relocating the village office from the fire station, as well as usage of the gym, library and meeting rooms.
The study provided information confirming the building was structurally sound and in good condition. There would be initial needs that were outlined based on the age of the building with the concern of asbestos and the HVAC system, but the overall recommendation from Strang was to pursue the opportunity to adapt the building into a shared community space for current and future needs through a phased reconstruction of the building.
At the October 13, 2020, Board to Trustees meeting, the recommendation was presented to purchase the building for $1.00 from the Dodgeville School Board with the closing in December 2020.
Q. How much money is the renovation of the building expected to cost and how will projects be managed?
A. The Village of Ridgeway has budgeted $450,000 to address the mechanical, electrical, heating and cooling needs to renovate the building. This amount was a realistic projection based on the feasibility study and given the year-end time frame; the board needed to secure the loan in 2020.
In December, the Village Board of Trustees formed a committee of community members with expertise in mechanical, electrical, plumbing and construction experience to provide guidance and recommendations based on the feasibility study completed by Strang Engineering.
The members of the committee, the Cardinal Community Center Restoration and Development Committee, will be providing recommendations directly to the board of trustees to help secure proposals from qualified firms for phased development plans based on the above potential future site layout. A chosen proposal from an engineering consultant will provide project specifications, blueprints, and actual budget numbers.
Please note that $450,000 is an estimated budget to make the building turn-key and the board will be receiving formal bids from qualified experts as the recommendations from the Cardinal Community Center Restoration and Development Committee are presented and evaluated.
Q. Why are people saying the project will cost the taxpayers $3.9 million dollars?
A. The board has no plans, nor intentions of spending $3.9 million on the renovation of the Cardinal Community Center. This is absolutely a FALSE and unfortunate misunderstanding.
When Strang Engineering presented the steering committee with renovation options, there were three different potential plans with multiple levels of construction and design options. The highest level of investment, with significant construction, engineering, furniture, fixtures and equipment combining all the estimates totaled $3.9 million. Unfortunately, this inflated number was taken out of context and has been incorrectly referenced as the total cost of the complete renovation.
At this time, the board has budgeted $450,000 for immediate recommended renovations to maximize the usage of the building but has not initiated or accepted any final bids.
Q. Why are people just now learning about the plans for the Cardinal Community Center?
A. Over the course of the past 8 months, the future of the RES building has been a publicly posted agenda item in 20 meetings open to the public. View the meeting timeline with coordinating decisions here or stop by the Village Office to pick up a paper copy.
With the sensitivity to Covid, the board has been hosting Zoom meetings that can be joined via computer or by phone. You can sign up for text and email notices of public meetings here or call the Village Office to be added.
The board invites the community to be involved and share their ideas regarding the future of the Cardinal Community Center since this building will be available for everyone to enjoy. Many groups have already expressed interest in using the building for events and activities, however, committees are still focused on the development planning process and will work with groups when the time is appropriate for the building to be publicly accessed.
Q. How is the building going to be used?
A. The goal of the Cardinal Community Center is to serve as a municipal service center for the village with space for future growth:
- Community Gym – Full sized basketball and volleyball court
- Library Media Center/Reading Room
- Kitchen and Multipurpose Room
- Conference Center/Meeting Rooms
- Village Offices
- Marshal’s Office
- Retail and Business Space
Additionally, recommendations and suggestions for the space will be reviewed based on presented opportunities.