Jackson reworks plans for domestic violence shelter
Jackson County has had to rework the design for its domestic violence shelter after cost estimates came in well over the amount the county had budgeted for the project.
During its June 20 meeting, the county commission heard presentations from County Manager Don Adams and Clark Nexsen Contractor Chad Roberson about the increase in price. Adams had previously come before the board looking for additional funds to construct an 11-room domestic violence shelter rather than the nine-bedroom shelter that had originally been designed. However, shortly after that request to the board, Roberson received bids on another project that allowed his team to more accurately estimate the cost of construction for the domestic violence shelter in Jackson.
“When he received those estimates, it drastically increased the cost of the facility,” said Adams. “And when I say drastically, I mean over $1 million from the last time we had a conversation.”
Due to the increased cost estimates, the Center for Domestic Peace and Jackson County went back to the architect and looked at more design options.
“We feel like we’ve come back with a proposal that works,” said Adams.
In order to avoid the additional $1 million and create a project more in line with the original budget, the county has opted for a design that reverts to the original nine-bedroom plan which allows for an occupancy of 18 people. The revised plan still contains larger rooms that were part of the 11-room design.
According to Adams, the Center for Domestic Peace is satisfied to move forward with the revised design. The new plans have also been presented to Dogwood Health Trust, which is providing matching grant funds for the project, and the nonprofit is comfortable with the nine-room design even though the county had previously asked for additional funds when it proposed constructing 11 rooms in the building.
Roberson presented the revised schematic design to the board during the June 20 meeting in order to receive approval to move forward. In addition to nine bedrooms, the shelter will contain two floors, an outdoor area that is inside the protective fence that will encircle the property, a secure processing area, bathrooms that are accessible to those with disabilities, connecting rooms for larger families, kitchen space, staff offices and lounge areas on both floors.
“If you guys have visited this site, it’s a very small site, so we’re trying to capitalize on the site as much as we possibly can,” said Roberson. “We visited a number of spaces around the region here and gathered a lot of information and got input from Wes and his team there as well, so a lot of this information is coming from those interfaces.”
“We’ve gotten preliminary approval of this site design for fire protection,” said Adams.
While the latest version of the shelter fits within Jackson County’s budget, it is a couple hundred thousand dollars short of being fully funded. However, the Center for Domestic Peace and Jackson County staff feel confident they will be able to fundraise and/or secure grants for the remaining money. Furnishing the building and equipping it with the technology it needs account for the majority of the funding gap.
“And remember these are estimates; we don’t know what the numbers are until you actually open the bids,” said Adams.
CDP and Jackson County have already applied for a $250,000 grant to go towards the additional funding needed for the project.
“This is the end of the schematic design phase, so we will be moving into the design development and construction document phase. That’s the bulk of where the details will be refined and we’ll be getting that ready to go out onto the market for bidding,” said Roberson.
The site for the project — behind the Cook Out located on N.C. 107 — was donated by Mountain Projects, but the land still needs to be officially handed over.
“We are finalizing a survey of this property line. So once that survey is complete then we can proceed forward with Mountain Projects as far as transferring that property over to Jackson County,” said Adams. “Then ultimately, we’ll need to have that property transferred over to Jackson County before we actually begin construction as far as ownership goes.”
The county has just over $4.6 million set aside for the domestic violence shelter, half of which is grant money from Dogwood Health Trust.
“We feel comfortable requesting to move forward with this project with the understanding that we’ll fundraise for this,” said Adams.
The board unanimously approved the plans for the domestic violence shelter.