Thursday, September 23, 2010

Revised Design Concepts

The architects from The RKtects Studio delivered the first site design concepts this week.

Click links below to see each drawing.  Your comments and opinions on each design are appreciated.



  1. Is there an option that does not include a house? Do we really need to have two homes on Overlee property?

  2. I agree with the question above. In addition, it's very difficult to judge the merits of the various options without having meaningful numbers attached to them, i.e., a range of prices for each, with the data "drilled down" to let members know how much will it cost us, per year and for how many years?

    Retaining Overlee as an affordable option for a couple who does not have children is important. We are happy to subsidize the various activities and teams, but I fear that in the process of such a large undertaking that the voice of members who use Overlee but don't partake in those kinds of activities may be lost.

    Having just led a condominium marina through a $300K post-Katrina repair in 1993-4, and then this year a ~$1M dock replacement, I'm acutely tuned in to keeping members informed all along the way of potential costs associated with all decisions and options.

    I haven't seen any information along those lines yet on the web-based information -- has it been published?

    We don't oppose making necessary improvements but we don't want to price members out of Overlee in the process (as we saw in the marina projects, when various members could no longer afford to remain) ... so I am hoping that through sound long-term financial planning & budgeting over the years, that funds have been collected in the reserves to mitigate the need for special assessments and/or dues increases on a large scale.

  3. All of the plans look great - I have a couple questions though. Its hard to tell elevations on the plans, and it looks like there is going to be a much smaller baby pool in addition to the beach entry pool? My opinion is that if it can be done without mortgaging Overlee to the hilt to the extent people will have a hard time paying for it, a new building is the way to go, because a new building could be designed with materials to minimize maintenance and upkeep in the future and the area could be regraded to maximize accessibility. My kids love the tank, I like the idea of a pool that doesn't get too deep, is that what the beach entry pool is? But then, is there a shallow end at the main pool also? And if we have this large beach entry pool, are we going to allow babies in?

    Lastly, it seems like there is much less space for the big umbrella, chairs, etc in some of the designs. If the lawn is going to be the replacement for this space, it really should be along the shallow end of the pool.

    Great social meeting space that could provide year round utility to members also would make it a better value to charge more to pay for these renovations.. and if it were designed appropriately, it could be rented to members for hosting events year round to generate additional revenue to defray costs.

    Overall, Thanks to our management and board for moving forward on this! As much as we love the existing Overlee, we are excited for some changes!

    Jennifer Bauer

  4. I am completely sold on the proposal (plan C) to move the upper driveway that currently divides the picnic area closer to the fenceline for safety, convenient and direct access from the picnic tables to the clubhouse, and more efficient use of the green space.

  5. Please heat the main pool! Thanks

  6. Oops I see 2 goofs in my post above, it was a post-Isabel (not Katrina!) dock repair, and in 2003-04.... sorry.

    I agree that all the plans look good, hard to tell from just drawings pros & cons of each, esp. without $$ attached to them.

    Thanks, Jennifer, for mentioning space for large umbrellas, etc. I have had skin cancer, so I MUST stay in the shade when I'm at Overlee other than when I'm swimming due to those health concerns.

    The big umbrellas around the lap pool are GREAT (though as I read the option drawings, the lap pool stays as-is so no change there (?)).

    Jon Cole

  7. I also noticed the MUCH smaller kiddie pool in all designs. Why? Thanks for posting these!

  8. Concept A looks like the best of the available options, if the wading pool is made bigger. C is next, but the loss of the terrace/deck to the tables and snack shack is a significant negative. B looks like a much less usable beach entry and tank size/shape, as well as awkward building layout. As others have commented, price is not a minor detail. Would suggest options for lump sum (no interest) option or annual assessment that factors in interest over (15-30?) years.

  9. For those of us who intended to make the annual meeting but couldn't (or just didn't go), is it possible to post a summary of the discussion on this issue?

    Jon Cole

  10. I was at the meeting last night and I was very disappointed that the members were not given a better range of options with associated ballpark costs. What concerns me is that the board seems to be making the decision to create the most expensive option without giving the members options to choose from. Thank you for your efforts but please respect the various financial capabilities of all members.

  11. I attended the meeting on 11/3 and I think the board, LRPC, and the rest of the team has done a great job setting goals and creating conceptual design options with realistic budget ranges.

    I have a few comments on the design:

    1) On the save vs. demolish the house: As mentioned in the meeting, the house does add character, history, and a tie to the past for Overlee. If the other goals of the design can be met equally and the budget is relatively the same for both options, it would be preferable to retain the house and integrate it into the design (i.e. option A/B-2 is preferable to option C)

    2) Playground: While I am proponent of many of the non-aquatic features (beach volleyball, grills, tables & chairs, ping pong, tetherball, etc.), the addition of a playground is a mistake for several reasons:
    a) Overlee members and families come to Overlee primarily for the aquatic facilities. The addition of a playground detracts from the focus on Overlee's core. Other pools in the region with playgrounds experience kids (and their parents) spending more time at the playground than in or near the water, which would be an unfortunate change for Overlee.
    b) There are many playgrounds in close proximity to Overlee (members already have plenty of other options for playgrounds)
    c) Risk: Playgrounds present additional opportunities for significant injury to children, especially if wet & slippery.
    d) Cost: the playground is simply adding unnecessary cost to the project when the membership is already concerned about the budget.

    3) Baby & Tank Pools: The zero-entry seems like a popular addition, and the isolation of the tank pool on its own system is a smart idea (i.e. to allow children in diapers in water deeper than 1' without risk to the main pool from an "incident"). Understanding that the designs are conceptual at this point, we need to address concerns about functionality:
    a) will a smaller baby pool still provide families with very small children the water & social functionality that today's baby pool does?
    b) will the new shape, size, depth, slope, etc. of the new tank pool and baby pool be functional for swim lessons?

  12. appreciate the hard work of the board to date. thanks for thinking through various options and many, many interests of members.

    i think it will be hard for membership to approve one of these projects (or a hybrid) without a clearer breakdown of costs for each part of the project as well as a more definitive picture of the financing options. can you flesh those out more prior to next meeting or post more info on the website?

  13. I, too, appreciate the work of all on this.

    I harken back, however, to my own experience in dealing with $1 million+ in repairs & construction/rebuilding affecting members in another association, and the need for communicating costs, etc., early in the process and as things move along.

    Hard to imagine being able to have any meaningful/ informed conversation or decision-making without some realistic cost numbers attached to the various options

    ... were actual numbers or at least a range mentioned at the meeting?

    What were/are they?

    Jon Cole

  14. I strongly prefer option C. It makes the best use of the available space, and I believe attempting to save even a portion of the old clubhouse will be much more costly than building new. Unfortunately, our 100 year old clubhouse appears to have the potential to be a money pit. Option C gives great swim/play space for tots to teens, tub-pool patrons, and swim/dive team events. I do feel strongly that we should find a way to pay tribute to the Victorian style of the clubhouse, as a nod to the past. Whether that means having the residence have a turret or something similar, I think we can evoke the charm of the historic piece of the property with something new.

    In addition, based on my work knowledge of buildings and energy efficiency, building anew will result in a facility that is more easily maintained, is more energy efficient, and it will accommodate the needs of the next couple of generations of Overlee members well. We've blasted a whole lot of HVAC dollars through the cracks of the old house long enough. (An IR camera would show just how badly the place leaks.) Plus, we can send a message to our kids that when you have the opportunity to start over, you have to do it better given what you know now. I'm not saying we have to add solar, or geothermal or anything, but make the building shell the highest priority. Put on a "cool" roof, energy efficient appliances and HVAC units, and smart windows. This will keep energy bills more stable down the road. And if we position the new building so there's a good south-facing roof, adding solar later when the cost comes down will be easier.

    Overlee is a great community because of the people, above all. Our stewardship of the property, and the decisions we make will live on, and investing for the next 50 years is a privilege. We need to do it right.


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