The Watauga County Board of Commissioners attended a special meeting on Monday, March 22, 2010, at 2:00 P.M. in the Commissioners’ Board Room at the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, NC. Those present were: Chairman Deal, Vice-Chairman Winkler, Commissioner Cooper, Commissioner Futrelle, Commissioner Kinsey, County Manager Nelson, Deputy County Manager Geouque, and Clerk to the Board Fogle. 
            The meeting was called to order at 2:08 P.M.
            Mr. Chad Roberson with PBC&L Architects gave a presentation which included the review of recreational programming discussed at the recent charrette; the presentation of three options for construction of a recreation center; and a comparison of related projects in other areas. The proposed construction budget was detailed as follows:
            Building Construction Costs                  $ 10,500,000
            Construction Contingency                     $      315,000
            Testing/Special Inspections                   $      157,500
            Commissioning                                     $      157,500
            CM Fee/Preconstruction Services         $      322,875
            A/E Fee                                               $      768,000
            FFE Allowance                                    $      343,125
            Geotech                                               $        25,000
            Survey                                                  $          5,000
            LEED Review Fees                              $          6,000
            Total Project Budget                          $ 12,600,000
            Swimming pool/s for both competition and leisure and gym/s for multipurpose space suitable for basketball, volleyball, etc., were the primary components considered for the recreation center.  A running track, multipurpose room and Teen Center were the secondary components considered. Support spaces in the form of recreation staff office space, Western Youth Network office space, and locker rooms/family changing areas were also considered.
            Mr. Roberson reviewed the following three options for a recreation center:
Option A
Square footage was detailed as follows:
            General Admin/Common Space                        7,500
            Fitness                                                              9,300
            Locker Rooms                                                 3,600
            Aquatic                                                          19,600
            Mechanical and Miscellaneous                          5,320
            Western Youth Network                                  1,610
            Gym                                                               10,200
            Subtotal – Net Square Footage                       56,680
            Total Square Footage                                  70,850
            Building costs were calculated at $148.20 per square foot in Option A. The pros to Option A included the implementation of fundamental priorities and building utilization was maximized through appropriate scheduling. The cons to Option A included the low building cost per square foot which resulted in a reduction of building quality, longevity, and sustainability; increased maintenance and operations costs; and a discontinuity of style with adjacent structures such as the new high school.
Option B
Square footage was detailed as follows:
            General Admin/Common Space                        6,150
            Fitness                                                              3,900
            Locker Rooms                                                 2,950
            Aquatic                                                          17,000
            Mechanical and Miscellaneous                          5,070
            Western Youth Network                                  1,460
            Gym                                                                6,750
            Subtotal – Net Square Footage                       43,280
            Total Square Footage                                  54,100
            Building costs were calculated at $194.09 per square foot in Option B. The pros to Option B included implementation of fundamental priorities; maximization of building utilization through appropriate scheduling; an adequate budget to address site constraints.  Building quality, longevity, and sustainability costs were increased from Option A with decreased maintenance and operations costs. The cons to Option B included the negative impact to the availability of secondary priority items and the potential for future growth for recreational programming.
Option C
Square footage was detailed as follows:
            General Admin/Common Space                        7,050
            Fitness                                                            11,300
            Locker Rooms                                                 3,600
            Aquatic                                                          20,100
            Mechanical and Miscellaneous                          5,320
            Western Youth Network                                  1,610
            Gym                                                              14,500
            Subtotal – Net Square Footage                       63,480
            Total Square Footage                                  79,350
            Building costs were calculated at $132.33 per square foot in Option C. The pros to Option C included the implementation of fundamental, secondary, and future priorities. The cons to Option C included the very low building cost per square foot which resulted in a considerable reduction of building quality, longevity, and sustainability and considerably increased maintenance and operations costs.
            Mr. Roberson then compared the three potential buildings to recreation centers that were currently under construction in the cities of Smithfield and Goldsboro, and in Garret County. Construction costs were elevated by approximately 45% in the Watauga County area comparatively.
            Discussion was held regarding the restraints of the site located adjacent to the new high school, such as elevation and set back limitations, and the possibility of looking at an alternate site. Mr. Roberson stated that approximately 5-6 acres was needed for sufficient parking, green spaces, set backs, etc.
            Chairman Deal stated that several citizens and attendees of the recent charrette had inquired as to the possibility of locating a new recreation center at the site of the current, soon to be vacant, Watauga High School. Potential existed for incorporating the existing high school gyms into the recreation center. The site also had several flat, more suitable, areas for construction.
            After lengthy discussion, the Board agreed, by consensus, to suspend PBC+L’s design preparations for a recreation center at the new high school site and to direct PBC+L to prepare and submit a proposed amendment to their contract which was to include a scope of work and costs to review the current high school site as an alternate location for a recreation center, considering the use of the existing building as appropriate (specifically the two gyms); a newly constructed free-standing building; and the costs of a swimming pool at both sites (the new and current high schools) that would be separate from the recreation center building.
            The Board agreed, by consensus, to continue negotiation’s with James R. Vannoy & Sons Construction Co., Inc, for construction management at risk services as related to the recreation center to allow involvement with the review of the current high school as a potential site.
            The Board also agreed, by consensus, to cancel their April 5, 2010, regular meeting due to the Easter holiday and schedule a special meeting on Friday, March 26, 2010, at 12:00 noon for consideration of PBC+L’s proposed addendum to their contract for architectural services and other items as deemed time sensitive.
            The meeting was adjourned at 3:38 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board



            The Watauga County Board of Commissioners attended a special meeting on Monday, March 22, 2010, in the Helen Powers South Room at Broyhill Inn, ASU, Boone, NC. Those present were: Chairman Deal, Commissioner Cooper, Commissioner Futrelle, Commissioner Kinsey, County Manager Nelson, Deputy County Manager Geouque, Clerk to the Board Fogle, and Planning & Inspections Director Furman. Others present were as follows:
  • Appalachian State University: Board of Trustees Chair Jeannine Underdown Collins and Board of Trustees member John Cooper; Interim VC for Business Affairs Mr. Greg Lovins; Chief of Staff Mr. John T. Earwood; and Physical Plant Director Mr. Michael O’Connor
  • Town of Beech Mountain: Planning Director James Scott
  • Town of Blowing Rock: Mayor J. B. Lawrence; Council Members Doug Matheson, Jim Steele, and Phil Pickett; Planning Board Member Ray Pickett; Town Manager Scott Hildebran; Town Clerk Sharon Greene; and Planning Director Kevin Rothrock
  • Town of Boone: Mayor Loretta Clawson; Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Mason; Council Members Andy Ball, Jamie Leigh, Rennie Brantz and Stephen Phillips; Boone Area Planning Committee Member Bunk Spann; Town Manager Greg Young; Director of Development Services Bill Bailey; Development Coordinator David Graham; Planner Jane Shook; Public Works Director Blake Brown; Fire Chief Reggie Hassler; and Deputy Town Clerk Kim Brown
  • Town of Seven Devils: Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Copley
  • High Country Council of Governments: Planning Director Phil Trew
  • Others: Omer Tomlinson with the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, Jason Reagan with the Mountain Times, and Anna Oakes with the High Country Press
The joint meeting was called to order at 5:07 P.M.
            Mr. Phil Trew, High Country Council of Governments, welcomed everyone and called for introductions.
Update on Watauga County High School Construction
            Chairman Deal gave a report on the construction of the new high school. The project was 91% complete with an anticipated completion date in mid-May. The buildings consisted of 268,200 square feet with some of the facilities to be available for use by local towns and the general public. The seating for those facilities were as follows: 4,624 in the stadium, 1,500 in the gymnasium and 706 in the auditorium.
            Chairman Deal stated that the school was striving to reach a Silver LEED designation. Green building techniques used to reach the designation included the incorporation of a geothermal heating/cooling system and a rainwater collection and reuse system.
            Chairman Deal stated that, included in the technology features of the new school, each student was to be assigned a laptop computer for use during their high school careers.
            Chairman Deal announced that the County Manager’s Office was accepting reservations for tours of the new school which were scheduled from 2:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. and again from 3:30 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on both Friday, March 26th and Thursday, April 1st.
Local Comprehensive Plans
                [Clerk’s Note: ASU presented their Plan first due to time restraints associated with a prior commitment.]
            Appalachian State University Campus Master Plan (draft 2010)
            Mr. Greg Lovins, Interim Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs at Appalachian State University (ASU) presented the University’s Master Plan. Mr. Lovins stated that the development of the Plan began in the summer of 2008 and that the University used the same consultant, the Lawrence Group, which the Town of Boone was using for the development of their Boone 2030 Plan. The ASU Master Plan addressed the following issues: transportation and parking; academics; growth; sustainability; infrastructure; student housing; and the Town & Gown relationship. The Advisory committee working with the Lawrence Group had representation from both the Town of Boone and Watauga County. The ASU Campus Master Plan was adopted on March 19, 2010, by the ASU Board of Trustees.
            Mr. Lovins shared a map which depicted new facilities and highlighted the core of the Plan. The focus was on additional on-campus housing; parking plans for the periphery of campus; private mixed-use development adjacent to campus; and an increase in research development. The top construction priority was the Health Services Building planned at the former Lowe's Hardware site near Watauga Medical Center.
            Town of Blowing Rock 2004 Comprehensive Plan (adopted 2004)
            Mr. Kevin Rothrock, Town of Blowing Rock Planning Director, reviewed the Town of Blowing Rock 2004 Comprehensive Plan which was adopted on March 9, 2004, by the Town Council.  The Plan addressed the following issues: land use and development; natural environment, recreation and cultural resources; economic development; municipal services; transportation; regional cooperation; and an action plan.
            Mr. Rothrock stated that the Comprehensive Plan referenced other plans including the Signage Plan, Streetscape Plan, Parks and Recreation Plan, Stormwater Plan, Pavement Plan, Parking Survey, and their Capital Improvement Program. Growth in Blowing Rock was expected to occur as redevelopment in the downtown area rather than through outward growth as Blowing Rock was limited by public land and steep terrain.
            Mr. Rothrock stated that many actions listed in the Comprehensive Plan had been complete or were underway. Blowing Rock planned to perform a community survey in the fall of 2010 to determine if an update to Plan was needed.
            Boone 2030 – Smart Growth Plan for the Heart of the High Country (adopted 2009)
            Mr. David Graham, Town of Boone Development Coordinator, with the assistance of Ms. Jane Shook, Town of Boone Planner, presented the Boone 2030 – Smart Growth Plan for the Heart of the High Country which was adopted October 15, 2010, by the Town Council. The Plan included an Executive Summary; Introduction and Analysis; Civic Dialogue; Framework Plan; Infrastructure and Sustainability; Transportation; Downtown; Focus Areas; Implementation; and Regulatory Recommendations. The Framework Plan provided guidance on land use and implementation of the plan required major revisions to the Town of Boone Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
            Mr. Graham stated that the Plan included a "low-build" alternative to the Daniel Boone Parkway and recommended the following: design guidelines for all buildings; a parking study for the downtown area; converting US Hwy 321 (Blowing Rock Road) into an urban boulevard; the expansion of public transportation (AppalCART); various, specific redevelopment projects including the following focus areas: the current Watauga High School site, NC Hwy 105/ Poplar Grove Road intersection, State Farm Road, Driving Range site (NC Hwy 105 Extension), East King Street, Park and Ride (State Farm Road), Boone Heights Drive, K-Mart site, and Hospital District Infill.
            Town of Boone Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Mason stated that the UDO was to be rewritten over the next couple of years.
            Discussion was held regarding the County’s plans for the current Watauga High School site. Chairman Deal stated that the Board of Commissioners had taken action at their Special Meeting earlier in the afternoon to consider construction of the proposed recreation center at the current high school site as part of a mixed use development. 
            Town of Boone Mayor Pro Tem Lynne Mason stated that the Town’s Planning staff could work with the recreation center architects to explore options allowing the development of the property in conjunction with the Town’s Plan.
            Citizens’ Plan for Watauga (adopted 2010)
            Mr. Joe Furman, Watauga County Planning & Inspections Director, reviewed the Citizens’ Plan for Watauga which was adopted March 16, 2010, by the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. The Plan addressed the following issues: traffic congestion; water availability; protection of natural resources; farmland preservation; land use; preservation of community identity; economic development/affordable housing; emergency services; education; and recreation. Mr. Furman stated that the population figures for County included ASU students; however, they did not include seasonal residents. The Plan contained information on physiographic features and how they related to development. Transportation was the highest priority issue and the Plan recommended an update of the Thoroughfare Plan.
            Mr. Furman stated that the Plan identified the following "Gateway Corridors," linked to economic development: Deep Gap (US Hwy 421), Grandfather Mountain area (NC Hwy 105), Blowing Rock (US Hwy 321), and Zionville (US Hwy 421).
            Mr. Furman stated that the Plan included the County as having the role of planner and facilitator on the issue of water and sewer service and contained specific recommendations for schools, law enforcement, emergency services, and parks and recreation services.
            Mr. Furman stated that the County had established a Community Housing Trust to promote affordable housing and an Action Group had been appointed to set priorities and begin implementation of Plan.
            Discussion on Plan Consistencies, Recommendations, and Implementation
            Mr. Trew led an open discussion focused on the proposed Daniel Boone Parkway (DBP). The Town of Boone’s Mayor Pro Tem, Lynne Mason, stated that the issue needed to be discussed as a group as its placement was to impact all entities.
            After discussion, it was recommended to form a committee consisting of an elected official and planning staff member from the four Towns, County, and ASU and a representative from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce to address the need of and route for the Daniel Boone Parkway which could then be presented to the NC Department of Transportation as a unified recommendation among the entities involved.
            Mr. Trew volunteered to coordinate with the various Managers to formulate the committee.
Discussion on Future Retreat Topics
            Mr. Trew stated that the next Intergovernmental Retreat was scheduled for September 2010; however, a meeting could be called if needed prior to that time.
            The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 P.M.
Jim Deal, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board