Aspen Lodge Expansion Update

Re-Printed with permission of Michael Ferrell – Del Webb Owner

Here is an update on Lodge Expansion. The Sierra Canyon/Del Webb Facilities Committee (Glenda Powell Chairwoman, John Imsdahl, Jim McKee, Doug Wilson, Maryann McKinley, Harold Allred) work on Lodge Expansion continues, but has slowed a little.  It appears the matter will on the Board’s agenda for their May meeting at the earliest but more likely at the June meeting, and not April’s.

There are a lot of comprehensive details being looked into. It appears the Committee would like to line up all its ducks in a row before all Sierra Canyon Association (DW) members (Lot owners) will vote. This is so owners are asked to vote up or down only once. The Committee doesn’t want to have to “go to the well” repeatedly as the more times votes are asked for the less likely passage.

Only one owner per Lot can vote; and yes, Pulte will be able to vote the Lots they are paying dues on.

So far only one construction company has been contacted for a bid. I don’t know if an actual bid was requested or the company, K-7 Construction, was simply “brought in” as they had done the West Entry in 2014 and 2015. However, it appears they are only company the Committee, primarily the chair, has talked with so far.  The plan is to get two additional bids in order to obtain the best overall price and terms. However, to do this, architectural drawings would have to be drawn up with specifications and not just ask companies to bid on a concept drawing as the 500 Footers did. Such detailed drawings could cost thousands (even up to $60,000) in order for bidding companies to respond accurately.

The problem is it could be a waste of $$$ to have the drawings done, get more bids, and then have Lodge Expansion voted down by us DW owners. (Note: some construction companies have their own in-house design department.) So the plan is to get the Lodge Expansion voted on before spending this sizeable sum, but then owners would be asked to approve Lodge Expansion without knowing exactly what they are voting on and all the numerous related costs.

Speaking of $60,000, the Committee wants to hire a knowledgeable/experienced person at that price to oversee the project as a Construction Manager.

The cost being talked about with K-7 is $1.1 million, but this is without detailed architectural drawings so the project cost could and probably would change.  Other than the Committee no one knows what the $1.1M includes (Flooring? Window/door glass? Soundproofing? Sound system? Lighting? Outdoor umbrellas? Tables? Chairs? Kitchen appliances? Landscaping? Shades? Molding? Wallpaper? Room dividers? Etc. Etc. Etc.

The K-7 bid for the West Entry was $63,229 and their final cost was $93,590, i.e. 48% over bid. In addition to K-7’s cost other costs, including design work and glass, amounted to $14,197, putting the total cost for the West Entry at $107,787 – 70% above what owners thought, plus subsequent outdoor lighting and landscaping. AND DW didn’t get the window in the west entry that they voted for. Also, DW owners voted for a new revolving front door to the lodge. This was never done either.

To me, these real costs makes the K-7 estimate of $1.1 million highly questionable and underscores the need for two more bids from other reputable companies. Obviously, a critical fact here is that DW owners need to know exactly how much lodge expansion will cost and exactly how it will be paid for in order to intelligently vote on it.  Equally important is that we have to be sure that we need to expand the lodge in the first place.

After the Facilities Committee is done with their work, the Lodge Expansion matter will be turned over to the DW Budget & Finance Committee to work out how to pay for the project.  It appears financing can be obtained in a like manner as what was done in the Somersett/Private Golf Club matter. That is a bank loan at 5% for which $8.00 of our $ 80.00 monthly dues to Somersett goes to pay off.

There are two main options for financing.  The first would be to get a bank loan and then raise the DW monthly dues for the life of the loan.  At this time, an estimate in the increase in monthly dues is not available as there are simply too many “unknowns” and the DW B&F Committee has not dealt with this yet.    This option would cost more as there would be significant interest expense to pay over and above the estimated $ 1.1 million loan.    The second main option would be a one-time Special Assessment, possibly $1,000 – $1,300, on each Lot. Perhaps other means of financing will be looked into.

The next step before putting Lodge Expansion up for the all-owner vote would be to put Lodge Expansion on the agenda for Board approval.  At this time, the earliest estimate for completing all the necessary paperwork for board review is at a minimum a few months away with actual construction starting in the spring of 2017 as no one wants the work going on in the colder months.

To me, all this detailed work does not adequately address whether we actually need to expand the Lodge or seriously  examine other options such as more efficient use and scheduling of the facility we already have and as addressed in my Lodge Expansion Survey of a few weeks ago.  Since then, I have asked Karen Brown, DW Community Manager, for the attendance sheets we all sign at each event/activity to see exactly how many owners do attend them.  She is working on rounding up, assembling, and collating these sheets so I can see exactly how many people use the Lodge for each and every event, including the gym, pool, and the multi-purpose, and billiards rooms, etc.  When I get these and have analyzed them, I will email everyone an update as to what the facts show for attendance and what this information tells us about the real need for any Lodge Expansion.

From what I’ve been told the two main drivers of Lodge Expansion are not all owners being able to attend some events, e.g. the New Years Eve party.  Some have said why not two parties, one at an early time and one at a later time i.e. like staggered church services. How many stay till midnight? The other is the kitchen. Have you ever seen anyone doing any cooking in there? I see things being heated up and others placed temporarily in the refrigerator.

While the thrust for Expansion is focused on the large room, many owners agree that a larger office space is needed, along with a series of smaller rooms to be used by our various clubs and for small meetings. Do you know the Facilities Committee members meet in the Library all squished around a table?  This proposed lodge expansion for $ 1.1 million is for the expanding the main lodge room without any increase of office space.

There are some DW owners who sincerely believe that Lodge Expansion is worth it without knowing exactly what it will cost and how they will pay for it; or how disruptive it will be; and whether there will be enough parking; etc.; and there others who oppose it for these very same reasons and ultimately the majority vote will decide. And be aware, there are some whose objective is to steamroll lodge expansion through for their own agenda and this is simply not acceptable and not in the best interests of our DW community and all of us who live here.   For sure all DW owners need to have accurate and complete facts and drawings and cost figures in order to make their own most intelligent and best decision as the final vote to approve or reject lodge expansion will affect all DW owners on so many levels.

Feel free to respond to this update as your opinions and concerns do count and they should also count when it comes to addressing this matter at board meetings. Check the agendas and see you there.

Thanks, Michael Ferrell – Del Webb Owner


8 thoughts on “Aspen Lodge Expansion Update

  1. Hi Michael,
    Is the sales office purchase by SC still on the table? If so that building would provide for at least two groups meeting at the same time. Might be a viable alternative to the lodge expansion as most of the complaints I have heard address the lack of adequate sized rooms/available times for the many groups who want to use the lodge for their meetings.

  2. Michael

    Wow an informative, interesting, and easy to read report on the lodge expansion plans. I am not sure how to respond but here is an attempt.

    First some background on myself so you can judge where my comments are coming from. I am a retired V.P. and civil engineer with CH2M HILL, one of the world’s largest private engineering firms. I was appointed to the first Facilities committee here in Sierra Canyon in 2013. Our first assignment from the Board was the two entry doors to the lodge. I wanted to make it an example of how a project should be done as it was to be the HOA’s first project. I resigned in disgust as I could see that it would likely turnout the opposite. My forecast was accurate as you and most others now know.

    My biggest concern as an owner in Sierra Canyon is that we do not have a technically oriented facilities committee. At least to my knowledge. If we did then the Board would not be having to appoint an Adhoc committee on the drainage issue in villages 11 and 12. The RFP was badly written and no wonder none of the four engineering firms responded. Now going back and asking them why no response is a waste of time – they will not give you an honest answer. I been there done that many many times.

    If we aren’t careful the lodge enlargement concept will turn out the same as the entry doors – a fiasco. A technical oriented facilities committee would furnish a feasibility level report for the Board, showing if an enlarged facility was needed and how it would be arranged and a budget level cost estimate. Then the Board could decide to stop the process or move forward to the next level. Feasibility reports are used all the time by public and private boards to decide on a go no go decision on projects. Their goal is to present analysis on the technical, economic, financial, and environmental options and issues so an informed decision can be made. Detailed drawings, that you say may cost $60,000, is not the thing to do as this time. That should be done later for soliciting hard dollar bids when the project is in a full “go” mode.

    Why we need a construction manager is beyond me. Plus I would be talking to architects – not construction companies at this point. It sure appears to me that there is no engineering expertise on the facilities committee.

    I am sure you can see my frustration. And thank you for your updated report.

    Norm Brazelton – Del Webb Owner

    1. The Pulte Sales Office actually sits on two Lots. I have been told twice, although not recently, that the Office would be torn down and replaced by two homes. I sent a letter to the president of Pulte, Richard Dugas, on April 18, 2014 asking that the Sales Center be donated to us and we (Del Webb owners) would be responsible for interior remodeling.

      Also, that the back door would be converted to an exit only fire/emergency door so that unit owners buying the nearby model homes on Summertree are not unduly disturbed by the comings and goings of residents who would only enter/exit the Lodge Annex via the front door facing Del Webb Parkway East. In addition, that there be no street parking on Summertree to help ensure those homeowners’ peace, quiet, and privacy.

      Dugas never answered.

      The current news about Pulte is the founder and majority stockholder, William J. “Bill” Pulte, wants Dugas out. He will probably win that battle. I will re-write my letter and send it to Bill Pulte.

      1. I’ve always proposed that the sales office be acquired for lodge expansion. Keep after this option Joe!

    2. Norm,

      Thanks for your very interesting and informative reply; I appreciate it. I can understand the basis for your frustration. Thank you for your interest and attempts to do the right thing and help SCA with it’s first project, the West Entry. Many say that it was a fiasco (I didn’t move here until last June so that was before my time).

      My objective is to present ALL the facts, both positive and negative so that DW owners can make the best decision as to which way to vote on Lodge Expansion. It is more of a ‘reality check’ for many DW owners who haven’t been informed of all the facts and presently the momentum is to present all positive information to result in voter approval.

      Like I said, I am not sure we really need to expand the Lodge and am seeking facts to support or negate this premise. And many other DW owners have responded to my survey against Lodge Expansion and have the same basic question – is it really needed and is it worth it when there are other alternatives.

      Thanks again for your important input Norm, we all sincerely appeciate it.


  3. Michael,

    Good useful information, good to know there is some sanity at the helm. Million plus is certainly nothing to take lightly or rush into. It would almost be worth looking for a separate building to hold events when large participation is planned or expected. Might not be a great idea but the residents need to start sharing their ideas to get the best bang for the buck.

    I also recommend sending out a survey to all owners to see how often they use the facility and their participation.

    Keep up the good work.

    Joe Geer Dutch Hollow Trail

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Joe G.,

      Thanks for going to Somersett United and taking the time to make your comments.

      Michael and I are currently analyzing Lodge attendance numbers going back a couple of years for classes, events, and group activities. A survey could be one of the end results.

      One idea that I have heard from several owners is for the few with “high attendance” that they could be held twice a la church services. An early New Years Eve and a late New Years Eve; how many make it till midnight anyway???

      Regarding a separate building, I have not seen, but have heard there is a large room that can be rented at the new Hampton Inn on Robb Drive. Rent space at Somersett’s TCTC???

      One thing I’d like everyone to keep in mind and perhaps put forth are ideas for the kitchen. As I recall before 2010 an unsuccessful attempt was made to replace the kitchen appliances with larger commercial ones. That was the beginning of Lodge Expansion. First appliances, then the kitchen room itself, and now kitchen plus the large double-room. Maybe only the kitchen needs expanding and that could go outward west instead of south, if indeed it really needs to be expanded. How often is it used for cooking versus re-heating? How often is the dishwasher used? I remember during one of the past years the answer was six times.

      All ideas are welcome. Please let me or Michael know, or post here.

      Joe Bower – Ten Year Del Webb Owner

  4. There are many single men and women living in DW that are on small fixed incomes. When thinking of an expansion of any kind they should be considered. An increase of dues could affect their budget negatively. Even to the point of skipping meals, purchase of needed prescriptions, medical service’s, etc.. Just a thought for the wise.

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