With a mandate to upgrade the 20-year-old Stettler Recreation Centre, the Town of Stettler has hired a consultant to draft design plans for the project.
The job — estimated at more than $1.5 million — has been deemed necessary to meet a growing demand for the multi-purpose facility.
At its regular meeting last week, town council approved a staff recommendation to hire John Hull Architect and Grace Architects of Red Deer.
“They are recommended for their understanding of the scope of our project,” said Lee Penner, the town’s director of parks and leisure services.
“We want to work with a company that is qualified, rather than one that just has the lowest bid.”
Town officials plan to confirm costs of the service with the architect in the next few weeks.
As the first two priorities, an upgrade to Stettler Public Library has been estimated at $250,000 and $150,000 has been earmarked to convert the conference room into a seniors’ centre.
Maintaining minimal costs to the town is a priority to the architects, Penner said.
“They want to meet the customers’ need, which is appealing to us.”
Now that an architect has been confirmed, council is optimistic the project will move forward sooner than later at a steady pace.
“It’s time to get at it,” said Coun. Malcolm Fischer, who has led the committee to discuss plans for a new spacious and modern seniors’ centre.
He has previously predicted that the seniors’ centre could be ready within two years, considering that the infrastructure is already in place.
Although no specific costs have been confirmed by the architects, Penner said they’re willing to assess the entire building and plan.
Funding and budget figures are also expected to be finalized for the next three years, which will include support from the County of Stettler, savings and reserves and provincial and federal grants, said Greg Switenky, the town’s assistant chief administrative officer, responsible for finances.
Fee rates rise for Parkland library
Council endorsed an increased operating budget for Parkland Regional Library for 2013.
Assistant CAO Switenky said that would cost the town an additional $1,200 from this year.
The change resulted from Parkland raising the per-capita rate to $7.28 from $7.07.
With just under a three per cent increase, the town will pay about $42,500, Switenky said.