SNOW HILL — An expanded Worcester County Recreational Center took one step closer this week when design specifications for a large addition were revealed at the County Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday.
The bidding process on the $728,996 project will now begin. It’s a significant price tag, but gave the commissioners no heartburn since the state will be picking up 90 percent of the tab at the end.
At 6,300-square-feet, the addition will be sizable. The county has been working on developing design specifications and preliminary drawings for the addition over the last few months and discussed that design with the commission this week.
“Principally it provides space for programs that are pretty much already in service like after-school programs and exercise classes,” County Engineer Bill Bradshaw. “It will give them a place to go in the large facility. It also adds a meeting room, exercise room and conference room.”
The expansion will primarily serve to provide extra room for those existing programs, many of which are gaining popularity and becoming difficult to adequately house in the current facility. In terms of design, “exterior appearance and interior finishes are planned to mimic the existing building scheme,” according to bid specifications.
The project will be funded through the use of $728,996 that is included in the Recreation and Parks Department budget. The figure raised a few eyebrows, especially since it doesn’t include equipment costs.
“So this is $115.71 per square foot and it’s just for the building?” asked Commissioner Virgil Shockley.
Bradshaw confirmed the figure as what had come about after working on the design specifications and drawings, a process on which the county was assisted by Becker Morgan Group. The cost shouldn’t be too hard to swallow, though, since the State of Maryland will be reimbursing the Recreation and Parks Department 90 percent of the total project cost through grant funding from Program Open Space.
Such a majority funding match is not par for the course when working with state grants and the commission was quick to agree to continue with this project.
“I think that it’s a great idea to expand our service and of course the magic phrase is that we get reimbursed 90 percent,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.
The commission agreed to take the project to the soliciting bids stage. Once a contractor is selected, and a list of six qualified were provided, work can begin, with the expectation that the addition be completed within 12 months after a contractor is chosen.