City moves forward on Discovery Center

by | May 10, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 9, 2018 at 10:35 am

Walterboro City Council worked its way through a series of ordinances and resolutions focused on the funding and construction of the Walterboro Wildlife Discovery Center during the May 1 session.
Before council could give a first reading to an ordinance to authorize the sale of bonds to cover the cost of the construction, members had to amend the city’s master bond ordinance that basically adds the city’s Hospitality and Accommodations as a potential source of revenue bonds.
Immediately following that first reading, council members gave a first reading that authorizes the city to issue revenue bonds totaling a maximum of $2.5 million to cover the costs of constructing the Discovery Center.
Walterboro City Manager Jeff Molinari said the bonds will have a 10-year life and he expects the bonds to go to market shortly after council gives the ordinance a second reading and final passage at the June meeting.
Later in the meeting, council members voted approval of a resolution that allows the city to use some of the proceeds from the bonds to reimburse the city for costs associated with the renovation of the building that will house the Discovery Center.
Molinari said that the city has employed a number of grants that were used in the land purchase and design. “The city has been very successful in obtaining grant funds for this project. Fortunately it has been an appealing project for those different entities. All we have left is a big one, a $200,000 Undiscovered S.C. grant for construction that was awarded the city by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism,” Molinari explained.
The May 1 meeting also saw council approve issuing the construction contract for the new Discovery Center and the adjoining amphitheater to I.P. Builders Inc. which provided the low bid, $1,846,990. Six companies bid on the project.
The local construction company’s contract calls on it to handle all the renovations to the building and the construction of the amphitheater. I.P. Builders, Molinari said, may bring on some subcontractors to handle some of the work.
The only thing I.P. Builders won’t do will be the construction of the exhibits that will be housed in the building. The architectural firm of McMillan, Pazdan and Smith, which handled the design for the Discovery Center, worked with a company that specializes in exhibit construction as part of the design work.
That company will handle the exhibit construction at a cost of $238,700, and the funds will come out of the bonds issued.
Molinari said that he anticipates the construction will start sometime in June. “We are ready to move,” he added.

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