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Committee starts RFP for rec center

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On Tuesday afternoon, the General Services Committee voted to approve the request for proposal regarding the scope of work for the new Recreation and Aquatic Center, which is set to open in 2019. Once full council approves this RFP, the full scope will be released to the public in late spring.

Jim Burress, staff liaison for Parks & Recreation, said the Parks and Recreation Commission went over the RFP meeting on Monday.

Chair Tabitha Denny and City Councilors Steve Henderson and Natasha Mackey were present. Art Sandoval was absent.

Elizabeth Gilbert, director of administrative services, went over the RFP. She explained the RFP proposes how the managing of the aquatic center could be. At this point, Gilbert said the RFP allows the city to decide the best operation and the cost associated between the three following options: full service from a management company, partial service between a company and the city, or training city staff. The RFP can be rejected if the city chooses to run the center alone.

“We have been working the recreation staff to prepare them with programming, training and all the things that come along with that,” Gilbert said.

At this moment, new training would be required to run the aquatic side of the center. City and Parks and Recreations staff could be qualified and capable for the recreation operations but would have to be trained for the operations of the new amenities on the aquatic side.

Gilbert summarized the RFP for the present quorum saying the scope of work has the background of the facility, what is asked of the company, what the city would provide, objectives of service, safety, programming and promotion of the facility and the qualifications of the operating firm.

City Councilor Natasha Mackey asked about the running of the recreation side and whether the current recreation staff will be able to adapt to new technology and point-of-sales systems.

Gilbert said the city is looking into an entirely new, fairly affordable POS system that would be utilized citywide, potentially at the Roswell Adult and Recreation Center, Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River, Spring River Park & Zoo and Visitors Center, which employees will be trained to use.

Gilbert said she felt confident in the current staff’s abilities, but said they need the city’s support in training.

Burress said the pool is going to be a huge attraction and supports a new system and new programming to head in the right direction.

Reflecting on the previous opening of the civic center, Councilor Henderson erred on the side of caution and said the city would not be happy with a management company running it.

“What we have to do is to be very careful,” Henderson said. “In the transition between when the contractor finishes the job and the new management comes in, we don’t have a slip between the cup and the lip and everybody is pointing to the other guy. If we don’t have a pretty tight control on that — I think we are going to come out the loser.”

Henderson said the city knowing the operations of the center is essential and Denny added that cross training would be best in case the company left.

Burress said he is confident in the engineering and the vigilant procedures and necessary processes, which will be developed over time in running the recreation and aquatic center. He continued to say everything should be tested and developed before the pool is open to the public and Gilbert assured this would happen.

“Either way, it has to be managed by the city,” Burress said. “Whether it is by us or another company.”

Mackey made a motion to send the RFP to full City Council on Feb. 8, which passed unanimously by the committee.

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.