Submitted by Mary Lopata,
UPCOMING MEETINGS, NEWS ABOUT FOV
President Catherine Brians opened the Friday, July 22, 2016, Friends of the Village meeting at 2:05 pm in the Village Greens Building, Dining Rooms 2 & 3. Sharing club news, she announced that our next monthly meeting will be the annual “Meet the Candidates” event on Thursday, August 25, 2016, at 5 pm in Clubhouse 3 Dining Room 1. One portion of the meeting will be devoted to candidates for Third Mutual and the other to United candidates. Refreshments will be served. On Friday, September 23, the subject will be “Our International Village,” and on Friday, October 28, the meeting will be about using and navigating the new gate entrance system, as hopefully both Gate 5 & 6 will be completed by then. Both of these meetings will be held at 2 pm in the Village Greens Building Dining Rooms 2 & 3. FOV will be dark in November and December.
President Brians spoke briefly to a spurious email being circulated through a blog. She clarified once again that FOV is a non-political, educational club, and directed those interested to read our mission statement as posted on our website. She also suggested that anyone interested in running for a Board position attend the various candidate meetings.
GUEST SPEAKER JOHN PARKER
She then introduced Past President Joan Milliman, who in turn introduced our guest speaker, John Parker. He is the 1st VP of the Golden Rain Foundation Board and co-chair of the Clubhouse 2 Ad Hoc Renovation Committee, as well as a licensed landscape architect. As part of his oversight of the CH 2 renovation, Mr. Parker continues to meet with the contractors every Tuesday morning to stay current on the project.
“OWNER’S REPRESENTATIVE” APPOINTED
Mr. Parker began with a brief history of his various terms on the GRF Board. While off the Board, he continued to sit in on CH 2 committee meetings where a decision was made to appoint an “owner’s representative” for the renovation process who would be able to link architecture, design, budget, contracts for construction, etc. George Headley, who had had a construction business in Newport Beach, was recommended by a GRF Board member. Mr. Parker left Laguna Woods Village to return to his home in the desert during the design phase of the renovation, and then returned to the Village as a full-time resident in July 2015, where he was once again elected to the GRF Board. He went to the Maintenance & Construction Committee and CH 2 Renovation Committee meetings and asked to be placed on those committees. His first action was to vote “No” on a motion to approve a construction contract that he felt was being pushed through without proper time to study. The project was approved anyway, but he was officially placed on the CH 2 Renovation committee after a change in GRF Board personnel.
OLTMANS CONSTRUCTION OFTEN HANDLES LARGER PROJECTS
The contractor, Oltmans Construction Co., usually deals with projects much larger than CH 2, but Mr. Parker said he thinks that George Headley as owner’s rep and Oltmans Construction were good choices. He stressed that Mr. Headley is very adamant about keeping Oltmans on track for us. There is still controversy over whether we should have remodeled or started over new, but the decision was made to renovate. As in any renovation/remodel project, there were areas where costs were underestimated, but he said there was never any basis to support an estimate of $4 million.
UNEXPECTED FACTORS CAME UP DURING RENOVATION
The renovation cost figure began at $6.2 million, and will probably end up around $7 million, he said, explaining that huge things were not considered. For example, the outside tile patio around the entire building had no underlayment, no reinforcing, no drainage, no grading, etc., and $250,000 in additional cost was required to make that area sound. There was a lot of dry rot, especially involving the 29 columns around the building, as their wood interior structure was sitting directly in dirt with concrete poured above that. The main water line was found to be under the Ballroom floor; the major utilities access box wasn’t shown on the original plans and was located in the process of excavating.
“The entire process was in effect an archeological dig,” he said. “Each week we waited for the next discovery.”
BUILDING CODES HAVE CHANGED
In addition, he said, new construction laws and codes had come into effect, and we had to wait to find out if we needed to upgrade to be in compliance, or if the existing construction could be grandfathered in. One major example was that in moving the meeting rooms to the side of the building, we discovered that the original roof structure had not been properly supported, and had to be completely redone for safety.
Mr. Parker then showed videos and slides, including aerial views shot from a drone, which they got special permission to use. The slides shown were taken earlier that week by Judith Troutman, GRF Board Member and Co-Chair of the Clubhouse 2 Ad Hoc Renovation Committee . The building stucco and roof are finished. There are new bathrooms and a new kitchen, although the dishwasher won’t be installed for a bit yet. An acoustic engineer was hired to design a fabric ceiling. Mr. Parker said special appreciation should be given to Judith Troutman who has worked incredibly hard on this project, and whose contributions toward its success can’t be overstated.
As it stands now, the Grand Opening of the renovated Clubhouse 2 is scheduled for Friday, September 9, at 2 pm, and there will be a primarily vendors-sponsored Open House on Saturday, September 10. The Video Club has been making weekly progress videos of the renovation, and will be showing the finished video at the Open House.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Do we have final cost per square foot?
We do not have final numbers in yet to provide construction cost per square foot; however, we will have these figures for future decision re: renovate or rebuild Clubhouse 1
Mr. Parker’s opinion is that 50-year-old Clubhouse 1 should be razed and rebuilt as a two-story building to accommodate increasing requests for meeting rooms. The hope is to preserve as best we can important portions, eg, the tower and the façade. Just like the work on Gates 5 & 6 is a pilot program to evaluate change, CH 2 was at pilot program to learn from for the future, in Mr. Parker’s view.
What about a parking structure?
Parking structures cost ten times what ground parking costs, he said, adding that, again, we are in process of evaluating, changing and adding parking places to see how many more vehicles we can accommodate.
What about chair selection for CH 2?
No big, heavy pieces of furniture. We have hired an interior designer with experience with senior population usage of facilities. Mr. Parker stressed that nobody will be allowed to put anything on the walls – no tape, no pushpins. Users will need to use easels and table décor.
Why wasn’t the detailed 2005 Report on renovation vs rebuilding taken into consideration prior to renovation of CH 2?
Current staff, including new personnel with construction background, read that report and also asked why its recommendations were not followed. Staff can speak the truth, but directors can be deaf, Mr. Parker noted.
What about CH 1?
Prior to CH 1 construction, we need to hold community meetings to find out what the community wants to accomplish with the project, then hand the project over to staff with clear directions and consensus, and count on the continuity of staff.
The cost of remodel vs new is about comparable, Mr. Parker said, but new has the advantage of doing it right and doing it once, instead of having to fix something done wrong 50 years ago.
CH 2 interiors?
Interiors will have lighter design, décor has been modernized. Window treatments will have valances with electronic screens and the remote control will be in the custody of the clubhouse manager.
With no more questions, Mr. Parker concluded his presentation to appreciative applause.
FOV VP Mike Straziuso announced that there is a CH 2 video on the TV 6 This Day YouTube link from the Village website.
President Brians brought the meeting to a close at 3:10 pm by thanking our speaker and everyone present for attending, and inviting all to come to the Meet the Candidates meeting on Thursday, August 25, 5 pm, in Clubhouse 3 Dining Room 1.
Monthly meetings of FOV are free to all residents of Laguna Woods Village and their guests. Club membership is $15 a year for one person or $20 for two. For further information, call Mary Lopata, 714-814-5844.