LAKEWOOD RANCH — Residents and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club soon will face traffic delays as Lakewood Rach Town Hall makes repairs to community’s main gatehouse.
Lakewood Ranch Town Hall staff believes structural deficiencies of the Legacy Boulevard gatehouse have led to significant water damage and rotting that could affect the building’s stability. Officials consider the changes significant and say they almost have to completely rebuild the structure.
Repairs likely will begin in mid- to late March, lasting for three to four weeks, and will impact traffic. No construction dates have yet been set.
“The gatehouse is structurally not safe,” said Paul Chetlain, maintenance manager for Lakewood Ranch Town Hall. “Certain areas are 50% or more rotted away. Any structural issue with a public building needs to be immediately addressed.”
Lakewood Ranch Community Development Districts 2 and 5 will pay about $31,000 for the repairs. Because the cost is un-budgeted, money will come from reserves.
While they wait for the permitting process with Manatee County to finish, Town Hall staff members are creating a traffic plan for when repairs to the two-story gatehouse occur.
When repairs begin, both the guest and resident inbound lanes will be closed for a week, during daytime hours.
Noticeable exterior work will occur over two weeks, but the resident inbound lane will remain open for one of those weeks. The guest lane will remain closed for both.
At nighttime, all lanes will remain open.
The Legacy Boulevard gatehouse is manned 24/7.
“We ask that residents try to avoid the Legacy gatehouse during the week when both inbound lanes are closed,” Town Hall Operations Director Ryan Heise said. “Safety is paramount.”
Drivers should pursue alternative entrances into the country club — transponder-only access points at The Masters Avenue and Players Drive and the gatehouse at Balmoral Woods and Lakewood Ranch boulevards.
An engineer will recommend specific repairs to the contractor, but, generally, repairs will involve replacing two sets of supporting beams at the gatehouse, as well as installing new wall framing and roof material to the second floor.
A decorative railing on the outside of the gatehouse will also be replaced.
Chetlain and other staff believe that railing, which is attached to the overhang of the roof, was installed improperly, allowing water to leak behind the exterior walls.
The second floor windows will also be realigned.
Ryan Heise, Town Hall operations director, said the gatehouse was built in 1994.
Today, a yellow strip of caution tape welcomes visitors into the unused and empty space.
Staff has ripped up part of the carpet, exposing wood.
Chetlain first noticed signs of water leaks on the roof a year and a half ago, during normal inspections.
Shortly after, Prism Contractors Inc., the same contractor that will make the current repairs, fixed the roof.
Within the past month, Chetlain found fresh water intrusion and discoloration along the interior drywall of the second floor.
That’s when, with the help of Prism, he determined the problem was structural in nature.
“We took the drywall and flooring off and we were shocked at what we found,” Chetlain said. “There’s been damage since the beginning of the building. It just wasn’t a good design. We constantly cocked and regulated the flashing (metal caps that attach to the decorative railing) over the years.”
About a month ago, staff added additional shoring — wooden panels connected to the second-floor overhang — for structural support. The guest inbound lane was closed for a week during that time.
Heise says when the entirety of the work is completed, the gatehouse will look the same aesthetically.
Town Hall will email country club residents and neighborhood chairmen once a traffic plan is determined.
There will also be signage within the country club and along University Parkway and notice on Town Hall’s website, lakewoodranchgov.org/IDA-ops.php.
Chetlain hopes the costs will amount to nothing more than a temporary nuisance.
“It’s serious,” Chetlain said. “We’re fortunate we caught it when we did. When it’s over, it will be like nothing happened.”
Gatehouse traffic counts
• Data from April 11, 2013 to April 25, 2013, specific to the inbound guest lane
Total: 7,380 entrances
Average: 534 entrances per day
Peak hour: 8 a.m. = 686 total entrances
Slowest hour: 10 p.m. = 112 total entrances
Balmoral Woods Boulevard
Total: 4,792 entrances
Average: 340 entrances per day
Peak hour: 8 a.m. = 497 entrances
Slowest hour: 10 p.m. = 11 entrances
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