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Golf course clubhouse rolls forward

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Council green-lights final design for $5M facility

By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos Golf Course clubhouse looked wilted in the afternoon sun. Its stucco exterior bubbled and peeled at the corners and the main entrance was shrouded in darkness.

The clubhouse, which was built in the 1970s, has served not just golfers but the community. Everything from tournaments to Easter egg hunts are held on its grounds. It seems only fair that Los Alamos return the favor, and on July 12, the county did.

Los Alamos County Councilors approved phase two of the final design and construction for a new clubhouse. Phase one, or the study phase for the project, was approved in April 2009.

“I think it’s really exciting for the whole community,” said Steve Wickliffe, golf course manager.

Capital Projects and Facilities Director Anne Laurent said the project is greatly needed.

The clubhouse is in a state of disrepair, she said. Over the years, the roof has leaked and other issues have caused the wood to rot. A section of the clubhouse has to be closed to the public for safety reasons.

Laurent said the clubhouse is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The new facility, she said, will be larger than the current building — it will jump from 12,000 square feet to 15,175 square feet. The building will also be moved west of the current facility.

 The new building will offer improved food and beverage service, parking under the building for golf carts and an expanded pro shop. A multi-purpose room is included. Laurent said the current multi-purpose room does not offer good acoustics and is under-utilized. The plan is to have better acoustics, better storage and a more attractive facility for the public to use.

One thing that will remain unchanged is the deck, she said.

“People really enjoy the outside deck,” Laurent said.

Getting a new clubhouse was something the community seems to embrace. Wickliffe said one of the reasons he believes councilors approved the project was because they, along with the public, realized that the current building is in need of either a renovation or replacement.  

Laurent agreed.

“I think we did a lot of public outreach. We held open houses (to discuss) what type of spaces should the building include … and we virtually had no negative feedback.”

It was great, Wickliffe added, that the county councilors shared that enthusiasm.

“I think the thing a lot of us were most excited about was the knowledge and realization that the council (believes) that the golf clubhouse is an asset.”

The project was one of the first to go through the new capital improvement project (CIP) process.

Laurent said that in 2008 the council generated a new process. If a citizen sees a need for a capital project, they can fill out an application and submit it to the county.

She added it is a way for the county to know what ideas are out there and establishes a systematic way to ask the council for funding.

When the phase one for the clubhouse proposal was approved, Laurent said an architect who does private and public golf courses was hired to assist with the design of the new clubhouse.

A renovation was nixed, she said, because the cost would have been $2.5 million.

That was just what was required to fix the clubhouse up, not turn it into a modern building. The new clubhouse comes with a $5.39 million price tag.

With phase two approved Laurent said “we have clearly identified our site, our design … our schedule and our budget.”

It will take six to eight months to finish the design documents and to bid it for  construction.

Laurent said construction should last 18 months, mainly because of the winter.

The goal is to open it in 2012.

Throughout all of demolition of the old building and the construction of the new clubhouse, Wickliffe said he doesn’t believe golfers will be impacted.

He said for the most part, golfers should get the same amenities they receive from the current building. Laurent said the old clubhouse will be kept as long as possible and modulars brought in to accommodate the golf course’s staff.

She added that the golf course will remain open through the construction.

The clubhouse isn’t the only thing on the county’s mind.

Wickliffe said that the golf course is need of some renovations as well.

Things such as improving the 25-year-old irrigation system are being considered.

Other CIP projects that had gotten phase two approval during the July 12 meeting were the White Rock Visitor Center and the lighting at the North Mesa Ball Field.