UWG campus project still on budget

by Celia Shortt

By Celia Shortt celia@newnan.com

Newnan City Council has approved the third change order for the Old Newnan Hospital Redevelopment Project, and the project continues to remain on budget.

The project is relocating the University of West Georgia Newnan campus to the site of the former hospital on Jackson Street north of downtown. Currently, the UWG Newnan campus is meeting in facilities in Shenandoah Industrial Park.

Of the $325,333 change order approved Tuesday, almost $200,000 is for “unforeseen conditions.” The remaining money includes $71,132 for reimbursable items that the city funded through a memorandum of understanding with the University of West Georgia and $54,685 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“These items were discussed in length at the bi-weekly owner/architect/contractor meetings and were deemed necessary as part of the construction process,” reported Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips in paperwork submitted to the city council.

“Additionally, this change order is being funded by our contingency, thus we are still within the $15,000,000 project budget.” According to Eric Johnson, project manager, the “unforeseen conditions” relate to UWG’s intended use and design of the facility.

“Although we did extensive research during the design phase, inevitably we did incur issues that were not visible until after the entire demolition was complete which occurred in phases,” he said. “We did make provisions for typical unforeseen conditions with this type facility but upon further investigation, different means were required thus impacting costs.” Earlier this month, UWG and Newnan Downtown Development Authority announced the new Newnan campus would be opening in August 2015 rather than January.

The delay comes after additional funding opportunities for added improvements were found by Newnan and UWG. The additional funding includes $1.6 million from the city of Newnan to provide additional parking lots, sidewalks, a campus green, and landscaping. UWG has also identified $1 million in year-end funding to purchase equipment to fully equip the nursing and science labs. This money is in tandem with the generosity of donors.

Newnan City Council also approved a $40,280 contract with Stanley Security Systems to be the sole provider of security systems for the new UWG campus.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council:

• Heard the 2013 audit report by Clifton, Lipford, Hardison and Parker, LLC.

• Approved an economic development agreement for the Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Newnan, LLC project on E. Newnan Crossing Boulevard.

• Referred an application request to amend the zoning ordinance to permit Class III and/or Class IV assisted living facilities in general commercial districts as a special exception use to the planning commission for review. • Approved an agreement with Community Action for Improvement Inc. to lease part of the Verona Rosser Center on Pinson Street for one year. They will be using it for their Head Start Program.

• Approved an ordinance to amend Newnan’s ordinance on hotel tax. The change did not include a change in the tax percentage. A second and final reading of the change will be held at the next council meeting on Sept. 9.

• Approved a city ordinance to “authorize the city to accept and acknowledge an amendment to the loan and security agreement” between the DDA and United Bank. A second and final reading of the ordinance will be held at the next council meeting on Sept. 9.

• Heard the second and final reading of the ordinance imposing taxes for 2014 corporate tax purposes.

• Approved 180-day resolution to repair or demolish the following properties: 3 Annie Street South, 10 Farmer Street, and 121 Pinson Street.

• Approved a 90-day resolution to repair or demolish the properties at 10 Second Street and 79 Spence Ave.

• Approved a 30-day resolution to repair or demolish the property at 16 Wheat Street. The city has been unable to contact the owner and in the 30 days, “will engage a skip tracer” to find the owner.

• Continued the public hearing on 12 Highland Park Court until the Sept. 22 council meeting.

• Approved the request to hold the annual March of Dimes walk on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The event will follow the same route used each year.

• Approved Elm Street Elementary School PTO’s request to have a “Fun Run” on Saturday, Nov. 8 on a specific route near the school.

• Approved Coweta Pregnancy’s request to hold its “Annual Walk” on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, on the proposed route.

• Approved Southcrest Bank’s request to hold an event on South Court Square, utilizing two parking spaces in front of their office at 34 South Court Square.

• Council Member Bob Coggin expressed his “personal appreciation” for the Coweta County Commission’s recent decision to stop levying taxes on the 1974 fire district.

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