Platte City looking at facilities’ future

Study shows that millions will need to be spent to maintain or replace City buildings

City Administrator DJ Gehrt compares the state of the City of Platte City’s three main facilities to an old car that requires maintenance to keep it on the road. “At some point, we have to determine if it’s wise to keep spending money on maintenance or whether it’s better — though painful — to bite the bullet and do something else,” Gehrt told the City’s public safety subcommittee Monday evening. Of course, the something else that Gehrt referred to likely means replacing the current City Hall, Civic Center and public works complex with newer buildings. Gehrt said that both options will cost the City and its taxpayers plenty in the next 20 years. To outline just how much and why, Gehrt referred to a study conducted earlier this year for the City by Shive Hattery, a Des Moines, Iowa-based architectural and engineering firm. The study was conducted to help City officials fully understand the condition of City facilities and to help the City estimate how much it would cost to maintain, renovate or replace those facilities. Long story, short, Gehrt said — the City is going to have to spend a lot of money no matter which way it goes. “It’s not a question of whether we spend money, but when and how we spend it,” Gehrt said. He said that figure could range from a low end of $2.5 million to $3 million or — as the study estimated — as much as $5 million, depending on which options the City chooses. In a staff report written by Gehrt highlighting results of the study, it was noted that the average age of the three afore-mentioned facilities was nearly 75 years, with the oldest being the 100-plus-year-old main structure of the Civic Center at Fourth Street and Zed Martin. The addition that was built on to the east end of it is more than 60 years old and the Platte City Police Department was forced to move from there to its current Fourth and Main street location in April of 2013 because of structural problems and mold/radon gas issues. City Hall on Main Street was built in the early 1960s and served as the Platte City Post Office for decades and the original public works facility at First and Paxton is also decades old. The newest City facility is the not-quite-20-years-old public works office on First Street. “These buildings have all served the City well, but are approaching the end of their life expectancies,” Gehrt said. The study was conducted to assess the facilities’ structural soundness and operating systems (electrical, HVAC, etc.); develop replacement/rehabilitation recommendations, schedules and cost estimates; develop “reuse alternatives” for the Civic Center; and develop recommendations /options/estimates for future City facilities.