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Armory’s future in question

Clintonville still considering options

By Bert Lehman

The future of the former Armory building, most recently used as the city’s Rec Center, is once again up for discussion.
The city closed the building four years ago.

The future of the building first came into doubt when the city learned in the summer of 2017 that the gym floor in the building was not structurally sound and could collapse.

All future events in the building were canceled or moved to a different location.

At the time, Parks and Recreation Director Justin Mc Auly had an office in the building.

Later that year, Mc Auly’s office was moved to a different building, and the Armory was closed due to concerns about the building’s heating system.

The city’s Facilities Committee again discussed the building’s future when it met on May 3.

At the meeting, City Administrator Sharon Eveland recommended the city hire Ayres Associates to do a structural assessment of the building.

She recommended the assessment focus on the gym floor, but added that because the building has been closed for so long, there may be other issues with the building, so an assessment of the entire building should be considered.

The cost of the assessment focusing on the gym floor is estimated to be $3,100, while an assessment of the entire building would be an additional $700, Eveland said.

“This would give us a second, and more recent opinion, of the floor and potentially the rest of the building, to see if there are some things that we could do that are feasible from a cost perspective to be able to open up the main floor,” Eveland said.

Eveland said in the past, the city held open gymnastics in the building, as well as Winter Whirl events.

“If we don’t do another assessment, just to be sure on that floor, the only other option we have is tearing that building down,” said committee member Jim Supanich. “And one of the things that came out of the discussions with the public at the time when we talked about closing this down, was don’t let it sit, either fix it or remove it. So, we need to see, if we can’t fix it, then we need to start planning a future of removing it, and not just let it sit there.”

Committee Member Mike Hankins agreed, adding that he wants the city to have accurate information about the building so the city can make an informed decision about its future.

“It’s a big decision, and it isn’t like we don’t have a shortage of buildings we’re taking down,” Hankins said. “Having one more on the list wouldn’t be exciting.”

The committee approved recommending to the Finance Committee and the city council that it hire Ayres Associates to do a structural assessment of the building, focusing on the gym floor, with the cost not to exceed $3,800.

Funds to pay for the assessment would come from the operational contingency fund.

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