Plans for county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources administration facility modified to include potential addition of multi-purpose room

Building to stand at Twin Lakes Park, with construction expected to start in the 2024 fiscal year

The Sarasota County Commission has given unanimous approval to a county staff request to amend the design of the planned administration facility for the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR) to include a 5,400-square-foot, multi-purpose room addition.

The vote came on July 11, with the item listed on the agenda as a Presentation Upon Request. No board member asked for staff remarks before the vote was taken, and no commissioner offered a comment.

Commissioner Mark Smith made the motion to increase the county contract amount being paid to the award-winning Sweet Sparkman architecture firm in Sarasota from $576,929 to $801,770 and to modify the Scope of Services in the contract. Commissioner Neil Rainford seconded the motion.

The board members approved the initial contract with Sweet Sparkman on July 12, 2022 for the design and permitting of what was planned as a 12,000-square-foot facility. That same day, they also agreed to the hiring of Jon F. Swift Inc. of Sarasota to serve as construction manager at risk for the preconstruction services of the project. That means Swift is overseeing the project and that it will work to ensure that the construction expense comes in no higher than the Guaranteed Maximum Price that ends up being set.

As noted in a staff memo provided in the July 11 agenda packet, the new PRNR building will be located at Twin Lakes Park, which stands at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota. “The Park is centrally located with easy

access to I-75,” the memo pointed out.

The goal in constructing the building is to “allow PRNR administrative functions to be housed in one location, [along with] providing better operational efficiencies,” as the department’s Maintenance Services and Sports Development/Athletics staff members have offices at Twin Lakes, the memo added.

“This regional park is already owned by the County and has the space for the administrative building and associated parking needs,” the memo said.

A county Capital Projects Department document included in the agenda packet noted that staff has plans for more pickleball courts and extra parking areas at Twin Lakes in the future.

The administration building is being designed to encompass a public lobby, a break room, and meeting and training rooms, among other spaces, the original Sweet Sparkman contract amendment pointed out. One section of the Scope of Services in that contract said of the structure, “Beyond purely functional requirements, the facility should respond to the unique role the PRNR Department has in the daily lives of County citizens. As such, the design … should delight and engage users. It should respect the park and neighborhood context and foster a pride in ownership that is emblematic of the County’s parks and natural lands.”

The planned addition to the administrative facility would include “a multi-purpose room with restrooms that will be available for use by the public,” along with public restrooms for people who use the existing tennis and pickleball courts, the memo explained. Funding for that design will come from North County and South County Parks Impact Fees, the memo noted.

The amended Scope of Services in the contract said that the multi-purpose room would comprise 2,000 square feet.

Further, up to one-third of the multi-purpose room “may be dedicated to a centrally located employee fitness center,” the memo continued, with funding for that facet of the work to come from the county’s General Fund. That fund largely is made up of the annual property tax revenue that the county receives.

Money in the General Fund is available without the types of restrictions imposed on other accounts, county financial management staff has explained.

That fitness center would have 750 square feet, the contract amendment said. It would include changing rooms with lockers, public restrooms and space for storage.

“Should PRNR choose not to construct” the multi-purpose room, the July 11 staff memo pointed out, department staff would have to pay back the North County and South County Parks Impact Fees.

With the commission approval of the contract amendment, PRNR staff anticipates that the design, permitting and solicitation of bids for the PRNR administration facility will be wrapped up in May 2024, the memo noted. Construction is to follow in the 2024 fiscal year, which will end on Sept. 30, 2024.

1 thought on “Plans for county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources administration facility modified to include potential addition of multi-purpose room”

  1. Providing a multi-purpose room for the public is an excellent element of this proposal. I would be curious to learn more about how the county envisions a policy to oversee how the room is made available – restrictions, facilities available (Wifi, desks, screen for films, etc.).

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