Mayor: Gym repair may cost only $2,600, thanks to generous donation

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 5/3/17

CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council, voting on the first phase of air conditioning and heating work at the Blue Gym, on Thursday also heard that work at …

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Mayor: Gym repair may cost only $2,600, thanks to generous donation


CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council, voting on the first phase of air conditioning and heating work at the Blue Gym, on Thursday also heard that work at the gym may be reduced to as little as $2,600, thanks to a generous donation.

“This week alone, we probably got $10,000 or $12,000 donated to us in air conditioning units, and lights to put up at the gym, and lights to put up on the American flag (at Carbon Hill City Hall), and a $3,000 cash donation,” Mayor Mark Chambers said at Thursday’s meeting. “The good people are starting to come out and help the city again. I sure appreciate it.” 

Chambers said repairing the two units in the back of the gym, which would serve the main gym area, would cost up to $8,600 in the gym, which he opens up for groups of youth wanting to play. He said one night recently about 35 youth were playing in there, although he noted it is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter to play there.

“This is the time of the year we really need to worry about the air conditioning,” District 5 Councilwoman Suzanne Atkins said. “If we’re ever going to do it to where the kids can enjoy it, now is the time to do it.”

Steve Mitchell of Advanced Mechanical of Carbon Hill told the council on April 17 that the four units of the gym, including two in the concession area, could be repaired or replaced together for up to $20,000, which would also cover heating issues. Repairs would be taken from the more than $30,000 in the city’s capital improvement fund, Chambers said.

Water repairs have been made, and the Carbon Hill Utility Board has helped, to the point bathrooms are working in the gym, he said. Exhaust fans have also been repaired.

Chambers proposed doing the work in installments, with the repairs for the gym area done first.

In reply to a question from District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough about the monthly cost of electricity for the facility, District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron proposed that fees could be charged for events in the gym could help pay for utilities, even down to theater productions that could take place there.

Chambers said the rent charged for the building is $300, but many turn down the offer when they find out the building is not heated nor cooled. “If we had air conditioning and heat in it, you would be surprised how many times how many times a month you could rent it out,” he said, noting youth could also be charged to play.

He noted that a director hired for the gym could also open the concession stand. If a player is charged $1 to come in to play, “they will spend three times that in there on the concession stand.”

The mayor also noted that Davey Reed donated a 15-ton unit and a 10-ton compressor, the latter for which will solve the problem of one of the units in the gym.

“Even if we pass the $8,600, the main cost of that is the compressor,” Chambers quoted Mitchell as saying. “If that compressor fits on there, and I’m pretty sure it will, that will save you $6,000, so it may only cost $2,600 if the compressor works out there.”

Chambers said, “The 15-ton unit, instead of buying the two 5-ton units to run the concession area, we could use the 15-ton unit to heat and cool the concession area and the bathrooms. We may get out of this way cheaper than $15,000.” lf the heating parts have to be replaced, that is expected to cost another $3,500.

But even at nearly $20,000, the city would still have about $15,000 left in the capital improvement fund, he said.

The second phase of the work will be concession area, with heating being the last phase, Chambers said after the meeting. He said those two phases would likely be up for approval at the May 11 council meeting.

The entire cooling job is expected to take less than a month, the mayor said, with lighting installed at the same that the cooling is installed.

“The heating will be last on the list, because it will be a while before we need it,” he said, although it will be done in advance of cold weather.

In a related matter, Chambers noted the city had a $3,000 anonymous cash donation to take care of installing a air conditioning and heating unit at the city dispatching, which currently has no heating or cooling unit. “They said they had seen a lot of good happening in Carbon Hill, and they wanted to do their part,” the mayor said of the donors.

Mitchell indicated in the April 17 meeting that he would donate $3,000 in lights for the gym, as well as labor for the electrical system.

Chambers said at the work session that Greg Edwards, who is president of a local youth association, could be proposed to the council Thursday as a part-time to open up the gym and run it. However, the appointment nor Edwards’ name were not on the agenda.