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O’Fallon city council approves advancing energy-saving recreation center improvements

The Renaud Spirit Center in O’Fallon [Google Earth photo]

At a May 24 meeting, the most discussed topic for the O’Fallon City Council was a resolution pertaining to energy-saving improvements to be considered for the Renaud Spirit Center [RSC] located at 2650 Sports Circle.

Specifically, the resolution would authorize the city administrator to enter into an energy savings contract with CTS Group, a construction group based in West St. Louis County, for proposed energy-saving projects in an amount to not exceed $2,086,947.

The council voted 8 to 1 in favor of the resolution, with Councilmember Rose Mack [Ward 2] absent.

The base project described in the resolution would cost an estimated $1,586,947 for HVAC updates; specifically, the repair and replacement of the center’s 60-ton modular Trane rooftop unit and 90-ton Trane Intellipak grade-mounted rooftop unit. The cost also includes the purchase of a new PoolPak dehumidifier unit.

Also listed in the resolution were two options for alternate repairs. The first would allocate about $350,000 toward the center’s water heating system for items like new boilers, variable air volume boxes and fan power mixing boxes. The second would allocate $150,000 to assist with the conversion to LED lighting.

If the base and both alternates are selected, the overall total cost would not exceed $2,086,947. However, the final determination of what package the city opts for will be dependent upon available financing. Currently, $500,000 is budgeted and allocated to the RSC fund, transferred from the recreation fund, to buy down the determined amount with financing sought for the balance. Other financial options are still being considered by the city.

The city council previously approved, in January 2015, phase one of the energy-savings project, also with CTS Group. The vote on May 24 pertained to the second phase of improvements.

Prior to the final vote, a motion to table the resolution was made by Councilmember Jeff Kuehn [Ward 4] on the grounds of wanting more information regarding specific repairs, fund allocations and the terms and conditions of the project. He stated that the initial attachments for the resolution were “lacking in detail.”

“I’d like to dig more into what exactly has been budgeted and what hasn’t,” Kuehn said. “I know the $500,000 initial down payment has been budgeted but since we haven’t picked a package, it’s hard to believe that the whole thing has been budgeted and what hasn’t. We’re talking about spending up to $2 million to make improvements to the RSC. I know that improvements are required. No question about it. But having come from this type of background for 26 years, I would like to look in greater detail at the proposal before I, in good conscience, make a decision one way or the other.”

Kuehn pointed out that committing to the resolution as is would still commit the city to a $1,856,947 base project.

Parks and Recreation Director Cindy Springer recommended moving forward with the resolution due to the long waiting period for the PoolPak, which was identified as the “most important piece.”

“It does have about a 12-week wait time, and if we push it to the next meeting, we’re going to be right at that [deadline], maybe a little shy,” Springer said. “We’re trying to hit the week of closure for the RSC cleaning, so we have less downtime.”

The motion to table to resolution failed 5 to 4.

Councilmember Reid Cranmer [Ward 3] made a motion to amend the resolution to allow the city to move forward with CTS, specifically for the PoolPak to be purchased and ordered with the budgeted $500,000 and to table the remaining costs until the next meeting. That amendment concerned City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe.

“The problem is that the resolution addresses a contract that is 14 pages long and contains terms and conditions which, presumably, CTS is prepared to live up to, but I don’t know if they’re prepared to live up to a different contract,” O’Keefe said. “That’s why the [original] motion was to table.”

The motion to amend was then withdrawn by Cranmer. The final affirmative 8 to 1 vote ultimately passed the resolution as originally written, with Kuehn voting in opposition.

Additional financing options will be brought to the council at its next meeting on June 14.

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