Bryant Woods center to rise from the ashes Rebuilding to include improvements

November 03, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Association plans to rebuild the Bryant Woods Neighborhood Center, destroyed by a still-unsolved arson fire last summer, for an estimated $60,000 more than the $250,000 insurance coverage reimbursement.

The razing and construction project will include the replacement of the adjoining Bryant Woods pool bath house and pump house.

The association aims to start construction early next year and complete it in time for the pool opening in late May, said Dennis Mattey, the association construction manager.

The Columbia Council directed the association to design a building with several improvements over the old Wilde Lake village structure, which was built in 1970. Those improvements, anticipated to cost $60,000, include enlarging the multipurpose building, increasing storage space and positioning the building so that it will fit better with Green Mountain Circle.

The council has not approved the $60,000 supplement for improvements but plans to find those funds elsewhere in the Columbia Association's current $9.4 million capital budget.

"Sixty thousand dollars for a brand new neighborhood center is a pretty good buy," said council member David Berson of River Hill village.

The council sets policy and the budget for the association, which runs the city's recreational and community facilities and programs, and maintains open spaces.

Insurance will cover up to $250,000 in replacement costs for the neighborhood center, the estimated cost of damage to the building, the association has said.

The Wilde Lake village board and residents will have an opportunity to review design plans and suggest uses for the facility before construction is approved, Columbia Association officials said.

"Some people have asked to participate in what's going on," said Howard Feldmesser, village board chairman. "The village board won't let it slide by. It's a major piece of work."

An early morning arson fire on Aug. 3 caused extensive structural damage to the neighborhood center and pool building, displacing a preschool and a dance studio and forcing the pool to close early for the season. The Bryant Woods Montessori Children's House and Backstage Dance Studio have moved to new locations.

The state fire marshal continues to investigate the fire.

The Rouse Co. owned and managed the part of the center that housed the dance studio, space once occupied by a convenience store. Rouse, which has its own insurance coverage, plans to raze, grade and seed its property, and give it to the Columbia Association to be used as open space, said Pam Mack, the association's director of community relations.

The Wilde Lake Community Association had leased about 1,500 square feet of the center to the Montessori School. The Columbia Association owned that portion of the center.

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