When residents passed a bond in 2012 that included more than $5 million for the parks and recreation department, the town budgeted about $4 million for upgrades to the Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center.
But that won’t even cover a new pool, let alone any other work at the fitness center, according to cost estimates presented by consultants hired by the town to come up with designs for the center at 1301 Morrisville Parkway.
Jeff Sherer, a member of the Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals team who studied the MAFC, presented four options to the Morrisville Town Council Tuesday.
The least expensive plan, at $6.6 million, would leave the existing center largely untouched. About $4.9 million would go toward a new pool area, which would include a lap pool and a play pool with slides and other features, as well as showers, locker rooms and other pool-related amenities.
The second-story fitness areas and the gym locker rooms also would be slightly expanded and updated.
“You would have a mix of newly renovated areas and old stuff,” Town Manager Martha Wheelock said.
After hearing that the bare-bones plan would put the town over budget by 50 or 60 percent, several council members fidgeted nervously or rubbed their heads.
Sherer presented three other options that include a new aquatics and fitness center. But they would could cost about $16 or $17 million each, or quadruple the price-tag residents approved in 2012.
In one option, the town could construct a new building behind the current MAFC, so service could continue at the current building uninterrupted.
In that scenario, for $16 million, the town would revamp its current fitness offerings, get the new pool and add a gymnasium, track and special areas for youth and senior visitors.
In two other options, the town could move the center to a new site at Jeremiah Street and Town Hall Drive. Officials want to develop a Main Street there with a park, library and possibly some townhouses, office space or shopping.
Two options for the Jeremiah Street site would cost either $16.1 million or $17.1 million. Both include a pool, workout area, gymnasium, track, racquetball courts, and youth and senior areas.
“They added 5,000 square feet at the cost of about $1 million,” Sherer said, explaining the differences in the two plans. “... They added cafes and things like that, which tend to be a little more expensive.”
Sherer said his company is working on a similar project in Garner, so he’s comfortable about the accuracy of the cost estimates. He said if Morrisville leaders are concerned about costs, they could build in phases or find one or two areas to trim costs.
“You could cut these back slightly and still meet the needs, I think,” he said.
If Morrisville moves the center to the Jeremiah Street Main Street location, Sherer said, the town could save money by using the same parking lot for the fitness center and the county-funded library.
“If we can just get the library folks to throw in a pool, we’ll be in business,” Mayor Mark Stohlman joked.
Council member Steve Rao said one of his primary concerns is that all four plans suggest getting rid of the tennis courts to make room for more parking.
“I think people do come there for tennis, though,” said Rao, who is an avid tennis player.
Council members TJ Cawley and Michael Schlink were absent at the meeting.
Stolhman said he wants to continue the discussion at the board’s next meeting, April 14.
“I think all the next steps are up for discussion at this point,” Stohlman said.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran