Completion of long-term Armory plan in sight

I wish to openly thank Marietta City Councilwoman, Cindy Oxender, Chair of Buildings, Lands, and Parks Committee for writing her “Groups Working Together to Make Armory Gym Space Available” article that was printed in the May 4th, 2018 edition of the Marietta Times.” And, thanks to the Marietta Times for printing this too. Cindy’s statement of “Kids would have practice space, parents while waiting on them could eat and shop downtown – what’s not to like?.” BULLSEYE!

To many of us there are two key words used in Cindy’s title, which are: “Groups” and “Together.” First, “Groups” meaning many people, that are Secondly, actually working “Together” …. toward a common (Community) goal, which is: Armory Gym Use. This Armory USE, first for and by the Youth and next by ALL other members of the community sure seems like a very good (Community) idea. This USE, finally, and certainly seem’s like a very good thing for the community as a whole from just about any and every socio-economic perspective for Marietta and Washington County. And, what USE(S) idea or combination of ideas could be/is better?

From the beginning in 1989, the respective volunteer groups of people often discussed and then ultimately voted for the Armory future USE(S) to be both “Supportive” and “Complimentary” in USE to the existing private businesses, and thereby to NOT be in competition with them at any time in the future. For example, the new electrical service now installed at the Armory is sized to include only portable “warming” facilities for optional food stuff supplies( provided by local catering services from existing off-site businesses) and not for an on-site commercial kitchen facility. Those of us who have been involved (some for 29 years!) in “Saving and Using the Armory for the Best Multiple Use Purposes that Can be Arranged” have been inspired by the man himself and his quote of the late Attorney General, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy (assassinated 50 years ago come June 6th, 2018), who said: “Some people see things the way they are and ASK Why, I see things that never were and say “WHY NOT?” As of now the Armory revitalization is about 75% done! The 3.42 acres of land, m/l, with its all new Site Improvements (All Parking, Mail Drop-Off, Landscaping, All New Utility Services (pipes, wiring, etc.), Veterans Walk of Honor memorial, Community Walk, etc.), etc. are all satisfactorily DONE. The entire Exterior of the Building (New roof, Gutters and Downspouts, Bricks “tucked and repointed“, all new Front Steps, All new Doors and Windows, Pedestrian Canopy on the south end, Two (rear) Fire Escapes, newly installed working Elevator, etc.) are all satisfactorily DONE. The Entire Interior of the First Floor Level ( first of three(3) Levels totally) improvements, including essentially everything needed ( HVAC, Electric and Lighting, Plumbing [with Two(2) nice new Public Baths, Lounge, Signage/Displays/Computerized Touch Screen Tour Guide System (Very Cool), new City Council ADA Accessable Chambers], etc. etc. are all satisfactorily DONE. So what is the 25% that still needs to be done in order to fully complete this whole Armory renovations/revitalizations project? Answer = “Finish” (only) the Interior of the entire Second Floor Level, which includes the “Gym”, and Finish the Interiors of the two(2) separate (north and south ends) Third Floor Level areas.

Well now what more is that going to take in order to 100% complete this Project? Consider these facts: Including (as is normally done) the outside measurements (gross floor area – square feet, GFA, SF)of the building, the size estimates are: Second Floor Level = 9,000 GFA, SF totally; and of this, the Gym occupies 5,300 SF, m/l plus the two separate, north and south ends of office space = 1,850 SF each, m/l, so x 2 = 3,700 SF. Thus 5,300 + 3,700 = 9,000 SF for the Second Floor Level. {Note the gym ceiling height is “open” up to a two story height to the roof tops of the Third Floor Level areas.) Both of the north and south Third Floor offices areas have roughly 1,850 SF (and are separated by the “open” two(2) story gym height area space. So, the Third Floor Level has a total of 1,850 + 1,850 = 3,700 SF, m/l. Thus, the grand Total of the balance of Armory Unfinished Interior space is : 9,000 SF plus 3,700 SF = 12,700 GFA SF. { Note: the GFA SF calculation estimates are mine, JMM’s, and I actually measured this building.}

What will it COST to Finish? Near the end of 2017, only about 5 to 6 months ago, Melinda L. Shah, AIA of the firm “Schooley Caldwell” (recommended for revitalization of older historical buildings) by both project supporters, Ohio Rep Jay Edwards and an Ohio University financing specialist Mr. Tom Johnson, came down from Columbus, took a personal tour of the Armory, then provided the following cost estimates for this Project (see her Dec 19, 2017 report). Estimated cost to finish the whole Second Floor Level (9,000 SF = minimum of $700,000 to a max of $850,000 (= @ $94.444/SF). and to do the Third Floor Level areas the estimates are : $175,000 to $200,000 (= @ $54.054/SF). Thus and using only the “max” numbers we add to : $850,000 + $200,000. = $1,050,000 est. sub-total cost. As an “optional construction factor,” the addition of a “sound isolation from the gymnasium above” feature (a suspended ceiling in the First/Ground Floor Level area) installed also, would have an estimated cost of another $36,000. Therefore, the Schooley Caldwell highest estimate to Finish the Armory’s 12,700 SF is a Grand Total of $1,050,000 + $36,000 = $1,086,000 ( @ $85.512, m/l). Not bad! It’s a GOOD VALUE even at the “max” levels! Yes, this IS cost effective. The Armory CAN and with the Lord Willing, WILL BE SELF-SUSTAINING! Please think this WHOLE thing through.

It is nothing short of delightful to see and hear about the Marietta School District’s volunteer “BOOSTER CLUB” group actively working to lease the Armory gym long term. What could be a better long term COMMUNITY INVESTMENT, not just for the school system, but for ALL of Marietta and its part of Washington County? We applaud the BOOSTERS. How about a BIG LEMON SHAKE TOAST to all of the MSD BOOSTERS! And, lets not forget the Marietta City Administration, Mayor Joe Matthews and Jonathan Hupp in particular, plus all members of City Council (past and present) who are working as two more groups to bring this champion idea to fruition! Yes, negotiating a mutually beneficial long term lease will no doubt be challenging….but it will also surely be worth it.

When my three sons were in the Marietta School System (Go Harmar Hawks) I used to say to them: “guys, get in shape and stay that way, it makes everything BETTER!). They learn better, they sleep better, they LIVE BETTER. And following a winning strategy like the groups above (The BOOSTERS and the CITY officials) are trying to DO, all of the citizens of Marietta/Washington County will certainly be better off. So come on, Marietta, COME ON. GET THIS DONE………and if you still want to argue or ask something then take Bobby’s advice and just ask: WHY NOT!

Respectfully submitted,

J. Michael McCarthy CAPS’s Slogan: “Take Care of Our Own, First”

Franklin County, Ohio

740-516-1523

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