Buda: Council Reviews Plan, Costs for New Visitor Center
By Edmond Ortiz
Buda (Hays County)–An Austin architectural firm overseeing the planned conversion of a former Buda Public Library into a 4,784-square-foot visitor’s center has unveiled the latest project designs and estimated construction costs.
City Council on June 2 reviewed preliminary floor plans and costs generated by Jackson Galloway FGM Architects. With plans to convert the old library building at 303 Main St., the city in 2019 allocated $70,000 in local Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenues for the designs, and another $400,000 for construction. The floor plan shows:
Buda Public Library moved operations from a limestone structure built in 1993 (seen here) into a larger space next to the city hall complex in the last few years. Image: Buda Public Library
1,543-square-foot community room with projection screen
726-square-foot display/flex space
201-square-foot storage section
175-square-foot catering prep kitchen
111-square-foot office storage space
271-square-foot staff work/conference room
243-square-foot bathroom section
712-square-foot office area with open spaces and enclosed rooms
417-square-foot reception area with 306 square feet for seating
25-square-foot janitor’s closet
The project includes relocation of HVAC equipment, and new sidewalks, doors and windows.
The reception/waiting area includes a spot for retail merchandising from the city. The administrative office area includes room for a coffee bar.
City officials said the new windows and interior reconfigurations will allow more natural lighting inside the building, which they added will have greater appeal to passers-by.
Officials also said the large meeting room will be located in such a way that users will have quick access to a nearby greenbelt and gazebo.
The projected hard construction cost is $560,910. The architects suggested three additional alternate bid items: rain gutters around the building ($5,000), replacing exterior HVAC systems ($45,000), and fire suppression system ($25,000).
City staff was directed to return to the council by early/mid-July with options to reduce the estimated project costs.
Once cost estimates are finalized, city staff and architects will spend a few weeks preparing construction documents, providing public presentations of the project, and gaining necessary regulatory approvals.
Preliminary floor plan for converting the former Buda Library into the city’s new visitor’s center. Image: Jackson Galloway FGM Architects
The council is tentatively scheduled to consider granting a certificate of appropriateness Aug. 11. The city is tentatively set to advertise the construction bid Sept. 14 with a bid opening slated for Oct. 5.
Construction work is estimated to begin in late October and finish up in late April 2021.
VBX members may keep tracking this project using ID number: 2019-3783.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.