Community center to get generator
At long last, it appears the Venice Community Center, an emergency shelter, is going to be equipped with an emergency generator.
The building has been without one even though a generator was part of the renovation plans in 2004.
In 2007, Venice City Council asked to make it a priority after the Gondolier Sun shined a light on the lack of a backup generator.
The building was designed so it could have a large generator. In the meantime, the building was renovated so one could be brought to the site and connected, but it took years for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to be approved.
The new generator will be permanent, with a wind-rated enclosure. It’s a bigger machine than the one originally planned for the building.
“When we did an evaluation of funds available it was not sufficient to run the air conditioning,” said City Engineer Kathleen Weeden. “It was critical … especially because VCC is designated a special-needs shelter for the disabled.
“So we approached council about providing more to upgrade the system.”
“It was determined that an upgrade from 400 kW to 500 kW would be sufficient to operate the chiller plant and could be accomplished for an additional $40,000.”
On Tuesday, the council voted to approve a new design and installation contract with Magnum Builders of Sarasota County for $329,616 to provide the generator.
The funds include an additional $40,000 appropriation from the city’s 1-cent sales surtax funds. The city previously set aside $93,143 from the sales tax for the project. Grants totaling $200,000 from the Florida Division of Emergency Management will pay for the rest.
Weeden said Sarasota County electrical technicians volunteered to program the new Trane Chiller System to operate in zones during emergency operations.
Being able to sequence the start up of the chiller, Weeden said, would use less power.
Without it, she said, the system would have been out of the city’s price range.
The sequencing modification required the additional 100 kW needed to operate the generator. The city estimates using county electrical services assistance will save another $20,000.
A budget amendment was also approved by council to reflect the change in funding.
The contract is a “cooperative purchase” agreement with Magnum, which uses a contractor who builds emergency generations systems for the Sarasota County School District.
The 45,000-square-foot regional community center is the site of expos, weddings, seminars, concerts, proms and a variety of educational, recreational and social activities.
It includes a 10,000-square-foot ballroom that seats up to 1,000 guests; professional-grade theatrical lighting; and a commercial-grade kitchen.