Willow Springs City Council Considers Potential of Former MODOT Buildings
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 1:50pm admin
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
The City of Willow Springs is nine years into a ten-year lease of the former MODOT buildings. The state agency vacated the buildings, but retained ownership of them. The City’s lease will expire in March 2022.
In a letter to the City Council members, City Administrator Beverly Hicks asked them to consider three questions:
1. What does the community expect and desire from the buildings?
2. What does potential development look like, especially if the City partners with the R-IV school district?
3. What is the funding mechanism?
To address these questions, the City formed a Vocational Education Committee using USDA funding. The Committee contacted Gene Douglas, an Engineer with Oke-Thomas & Associates, Inc., to aid in this study.
Douglas was present at the regular Council meeting on September 16 to explain his findings. Douglas told the Board of Aldermen that his recommendation represents the Committee’s intent, which includes maximum development, understanding the long-term viability, and understanding the financial obligations to entice future tenants.
Douglas reported that both buildings are in good shape overall and have great potential. He also recommended specific repairs, which included updating or replacing the current HVAC system, repairing the fire suppression system, and servicing the elevator system. His executive summary estimated repair costs ranging between $1.5 million and $2 million to prepare the building to be leasable spaces.
Superintendent Bill Hall of the Willow Springs School District and several School Board members were present for Douglas’ presentation. City Administrator Beverly Hicks informed both City and school officials that MoDOT valued the property at approximately $836,000.00.
At the meeting, both school and City officials agreed it was best to move forward with some type of preservation, rather than allowing the property to deteriorate. There was discussion regarding potential vocational education programs.
Missouri House Representative David Evans was also present and informed Council that with the assistance of Missouri Senator Karla Eslinger, they hope to obtain funding for facility renovation, expansion of educational programs, and other various purposes to best serve the Willow Springs community. However, Evans further stated that it would be up to City and School officials to provide a detailed plan for he and Eslinger to use in funding procurement.
City Administrator Beverly Hicks and the School Board will be touring the former MoDOT facilities on Wednesday, September 22, at 6:15 pm and anyone from the public is free to attend.
No action was taken by Council at this time.