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Architect hired for Jackson Theatre

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to award Ken Ross Architects, a firm out of Johnson City, the Jackson Theatre project last week.
Mayor Kelly Wolfe said choosing the architect is the first step in the process needed to be able to estimate, plan and design the Jackson Theatre project.
Before a decision was made, Wolfe pointed out that the town has already had two projects where costs have exceeded budget because of overengineering. He said he wants the staff, board and the architect to avoid coming back with unrealistic complicated designs in terms of heat and air electrical systems.
“It’s a painful process that can be avoided by using a little common sense,” he said, adding that he does not want the board to encounter bids coming in twice of what was expected.
The town sent out a request for qualifications and proposals to three firms, one of which, Glazer Architecture, Pa., out of Asheville, N.C., decided not to submit because of the concern of project financing.
The other two firms, Beeson, Lusk & Street and Ken Ross Architects, both out of Johnson City, submitted information.
The BMA received a recommendation to award the project to Ken Ross Architects, along with a packet that compared the two firms.
Both firms had to address background information regarding their work on restoration of historic properties and effective re-use; the ability to maintain a high level of communication and a quick response time; and projected costs of designing the project.
Beeson, Lusk & Street provided drawings for the Eureka Hotel restoration in Jonesborough, First United Methodist Church in Johnson City and the early 1900s building Hardin Hall at Milligan College.
Ken Ross Architects has worked on such projects as the Chester Inn renovation; Washington County Courthouse renovations; the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School; Veterans Administration; converting the old library to the College of Nursing at East Tennessee State University and converting a large historical house into a clinic, The Oaks.
Ken Ross Architects also has two new construction projects in the Jonesborough historic district — the International Storytelling Center and the addition of town hall’s lobby and board room.
In regards to cost, Beeson, Lusk & Street proposed a fee range between $95,000 and $200,000, which will include mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural engineering.
The upfront design work would be $3,000 and stage light and sound consultant would be from $25,000 to $30,000. There was no cost for phone calls, copies and local mileage.
Ken Ross Architects had a fee range between 4.5 percent and 6 percent of the construction costs, which is based on the projected construction budget of $1,640,000. The fees would be estimated between $73,800 and $98,400.
Front-end design work for funding is at no cost and will be incorporated into cost if project is funded. There is no cost for travel, phone calls and postage.
The hourly costs were also provided by both firms.
Beeson, Lusk & Street had a cost of $130 an hour for principal of firm; $105 an hour for project architect; $80 an hour interior design; $70 an hour for construction inspection and $55 an hour for clerical.
Ken Ross Architects had a cost of $120 an hour for principal of firm; $100 an hour for project architect; $75 an hour for interior design; $65 an hour for construction inspection and $35 an hour for clerical.
Wolfe said the town will use inmate labor for a good portion of the work done at the Jackson Theatre. He said they will secure qualified electricians and heat and air installers, but such grunt work as demolition and reconstruction can be done with inmate labor.
“This is smart growth epitomized,” Alderman Adam Dickson said of revitalizing the Jackson Theatre.
He said the theatre will act as a development tool for the town of Jonesborough because of the potential it has.
Wolfe agreed that it is a great project, one that holds many memories for folks of Jonesborough as they grew up in the area.
“That’s history. Those stories are history,” he said. “Those stories is what makes this theatre special.”
Wolfe referred to the Jackson Theatre as the town’s crown jewel. He said although it has taken a long time to get to this point, it has been done through a team effort since day one.
We have “a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to,” Wolfe said.
Alderman Chuck Vest said working on the Jackson Theatre is probably the most important thing the board can do to pull the downtown historic district together.