Dear Spring Run Member,
On Thursday, August 25, 2011, the Board of Directors approved as part of the annual assessment, a $367 fee per unit designated for an exciting future Capital Improvement Project. The Board’s intent over the next two months is to complete a master plan for the expansion of Spring Run Golf Club to solve concerns that have been voiced in the (a) 2008 Strategic Plan, (b) the March 2011 Focus Group report and (c) subsequent Strategic Plan for 2011. Appreciation is extended by the Board to the countless volunteer hours given by Spring Run members and management to bring this project to fruition. Tasks completed by members and management included researching problems, collecting and processing member feedback, seeking advice from industry experts, gleaning insight from Club employees, and developing a solution to enhance the long-term value of our community for all of our Members.
Volumes of information exist at this time. The challenge to the Board and Management is to present the information to all members in a format that will provide clear answers. We need to encourage valuable and constructive feedback that will assist us in forward planning and education. In this communication, I will provide a basic overview of the plan as it exists today, followed by a Q&A format addressing specific questions asked by Members. As additional questions emerge, they will be addressed quickly in this same manner. I would ask that all comments and questions be made either in writing and directed to me, Mike Zigler, General Manager, or simply as a reply to this Blog. A person will be assigned to ensure that all comments are captured and responded to immediately.
In 2007, a Strategic Planning Committee was formed to gather member input on the future direction of Spring Run. One of the main components of the Long-Range Plan was to address the lack of space in the clubhouse. The Board approved the Long-Range Plan in 2008 and began addressing the issues. In spring 2010, a clubhouse renovation plan was approved by the Board, and submitted to members for a vote. Unfortunately, this project was voted down by the membership. Focus Groups were then conducted with all members of the community who wished to participate. The results of the Focus Groups revealed that members were disturbed about other issues and not necessarily opposed to the expansion project. Reasons given were somewhat ancillary to the actual plan, ranging from the (a) distress over the Bocce Ball project, (b) dire condition of the economy, (c) tthe method of voting (many felt they should be able to select what they wanted done), and (d) recent expenses occurred in Commons Club membership. A common theme that emerged from members’ comments was that they wanted a long term solution to Spring Run’s facilities issues. They did not want to “band-aid” the problem and have to return in 5 or 6 years to do another project.
The issue of prime concern to members was the kitchen. Other concerns centered around the inadequate fitness facilities, meeting rooms, and pro shop. Once pricing options for expansion were provided by the architect, it became clear that just renovating the kitchen would not fix our additional need for space in the rest of the club. In fact, costs for the kitchen expansion and renovation were well over expectations and would cost significantly more due to the required changes to the building’s footprint. Other long-term solutions were proposed that would meet Spring Run’s needs for today and tomorrow. After hours of thoughtful analysis, the major solution rested on “building up” rather than adjusting the clubhouse’s footprint by building out.
The project is estimated to cost $2.5M, and includes:
- Summer 2012: Razing the Cart Barn and constructing a two story building with an enclosed Cart Barn, enlarged Bag Room, and new Pro Shop on the first floor, and a fitness room, aerobics/multipurpose room, and administrative offices on the 2nd floor, accessible via elevator and staircases
- Summer 2013: Renovating kitchen once offices are moved to the new facility. Kitchen will expand into the current office area. Existing Pro Shop and Fitness areas will be renovated into meeting rooms, and Food & Beverage office. Existing storage space, Conference Room, and some area from vacated Pro Shop will be reconfigured into more efficient dining and storage space.
- Summer 2014: Complete Golf Course renovation. This renovation is already funding in our capital reserves.
This is the outline of the construction project timeline as envisioned today. As planning continues, it may be altered to avoid disruption of member activities or to take advantage of potential cost saving opportunities.
The Club has been able to receive very attractive financing terms through FineMark Bank. Although other quotes are forthcoming, for purposes of this analysis, the available quote is:
- $2,500,000 loan
- 10 Year Term
- 4.5% Fixed Interest Rate
It is the Board’s intent to spread the cost of the project out over 10 years. This annual capital fee of $367 will be levied against each unit, not each member. For example, if you sell your unit in 5 years, you will have paid for 5 years of use, and the purchaser will be responsible for the remaining 5 years, which will be included in the annual assessment.
Questions & Answers
Q. This project previously voted down. Why is it being brought up again?
A. Following the last vote, a process of Strategic Planning began again. Member comments from the Focus Group sessions indicated a strong sense that a project be completed to expand the kitchen and address the long range needs of the Club. Some of the elements are the same, but the approach to add a second floor to the cart barn to increase square footage is completely different. Also, the issue of adding a permanent outdoor dining facility has been eliminated, although some minor funding is available to make that area more attractive and member friendly.
Q. Will the Members get to vote on whether the project is approved?
A. No requirement exists in our Governing Documents or in the Florida Statutes that the membership must vote on a capital project in order for it to be adopted. It has been the past practice of the club to garner member approval for large proposed projects. It is not the intent of the Board to hold a formal member vote for this project.
Q. Doesn’t the Club need a vote of the members to borrow money?
A. The Spring Run Bylaws require a vote of the Neighborhood Representatives only if the amount borrowed is more than 50% of the gross expenses for the year. In this case, the amount being borrowed is less than 50%.
Q. Without a vote of the membership, how will you know the members want this project?
A. Following the last vote, a formal Strategic Planning process began again. We used this format to gather member feedback on how they viewed the club and why, and what they wanted to see in the future. It was a very professional and unbiased approach and the results can be seen in the new Strategic Plan. The Board was aware of the priority to renovate the kitchen and to create a long term solution to our space needs and moved forward in the planning process due to budgetary timelines and a small window of opportunity to allow work to begin by next summer and not disrupt member services.
Q. How will my use of the club be affected if this project is being done over several years?
A. It is our goal to avoid member service disruption throughout this process, and we are designing the construction to proceed in a manner to allow us to maintain member services. For instance, when the cart barn is under construction, a section of parking lot will be used as temporary tented staging for carts, and we will work with Club Car to use their portable charging systems and club storage units. When we renovate the kitchen, we will set up a food service preparation and grill area to service our members. Understandably, there will be limitations in what we can provide. However, we are focused on providing quality services to all our members and guests.
Q. What will happen to our Employees when we are shut down?
A. Our employees are a valued asset at Spring Run, and every attempt will be made to keep them employed in some capacity. Fortunately, most departments will continue to operate as normal throughout construction. The only department that will be affected will be Food & Beverage during the summer of 2013. Even with limited food service, we will need to keep key F&B employees to cook and serve. And, of course, the full bar will be open for business!
Q. The economic outlook is poor. Why spend money to make improvements when money is so tight for many members?
A. The most valuable stake you have in Spring Run is your property. It is valuable when there is demand in the marketplace to live in Spring Run. Our competition isn’t waiting for a better economy to improve their communities either. By taking advantage of excellent financing opportunities and lower construction costs, we will be in an advantageous position to compete for buyers as the market improves.
Q. Can I see a copy of the Focus Group Report and Strategic Plan? Where can I get detailed information on this upcoming project?
A. Copies of these documents are available in the administrative offices upon request. An informational piece will be developed once the plan is finalized and will be provided to all members at that time.
Michael G. Zigler, CCM, CAM