Initial CA Facility Assessments Conducted – Capital Budget Increases Result (The Villager 2016-7)

(This article was published on The Villager, July 2016.)

Initial CA Facility Assessments Conducted – Capital Budget Increases Result

The Columbia Association (CA) Board requested that a facility survey be undertaken to understand the physical condition of all CA facilities and enable the findings to be incorporated into long-term planning. The purpose of the facility assessments is to create an inventory of the capital improvement projects necessary to maintain the facilities under their current program and use. General and monthly maintenance issues were also included as ancillary observations. After reviewing the initial results, I am very concerned that we have to spend so much each year just to maintain the existing facilities.

All CA buildings will be evaluated by FY2020. The assessments cover the following service areas: site/civil, structural, envelope (roof and siding), interior, mechanical & plumbing systems, electrical, accessibility (ADA) and aquatics (Athletic club only). The following CA facilities were surveyed in FY16: Athletic Club, Ice Rink, Stonehouse, Art Center, Teen Center, Other Barn, and the CA Maintenance Facility. The results of these building surveys are now available (Link: ) The initial surveys found that the buildings are structurally sound but showing their age aesthetically and  in the mechanical systems. Large numbers of HVAC components or mechanical systems have reached or are soon reaching the end of their American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE) estimated service life.

The results from these building assessments have been prioritized and the high cost items incorporated into CA’s Capital Improvements Plan (CIP). The CIP was created as a component for the Columbia Association Economic Model and allows for better tracking of and planning for future major expenditures. Capital projects are those which are more than $100,000. In each year’s CIP, the expenditures cover several areas: community centers, aquatics, community service, sports & fitness, open space, IT, CAT I&II, CAT III. The CIP includes all previously planned and proposed capital projects:  Swim Center Phase I, II & III (FY17 – 19), Long Reach Tennis Center (FY17), Ice Rink (FY18), Athletic Club (FY18-19).

Projects identified in the seven building surveys as high priority items were added to the FY18 capital budget. Medium priority projects and low priority projects were added to the FY20 and FY22 capital budget estimate, respectively.  The cost for CA to maintain its existing assets, fund the capital projects already planned and proposed, and fund the projects identified by the initial building survey are estimated to be: $23.14M in FY18, $19.55M in FY19, $17.19M in FY20, $16.52M in FY21, and $17.45M in FY22. Please note, the current approved FY18 capital budget is $17 million. CA is projected to be short $6M if we fund the high priority capital projects identified in the initial building survey. Furthermore, the CIP exceeds planned capital expenditures over the next five years.

Unfortunately, there are some buildings which are not performing well and they are very expensive to maintain. The CA staff has been working actively with the village associations and other parties to revitalize them; but, viable plans have not yet been identified. I understand that many residents are emotionally attached to these facilities. However, the community and the needs are changing such that we should also think about the future. Some CA Board members, including myself, don’t want CA to be overstretched financially.

Enjoy the summer sun and fun.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email:  Website:

Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.