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City approves budget for Bobby Jones buildings

A maximum price of $5.29 million is set for restrooms, starter building, range building and a temporary clubhouse at the city-owned golf course.

Earth movers continue shaping the 18th fairway at the Bobby Jones Golf Course as sod around the green takes hold and the green awaits planting.
Earth movers continue shaping the 18th fairway at the Bobby Jones Golf Course as sod around the green takes hold and the green awaits planting.
Photo by Andrew Warfield
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As progress continues toward a late summer or early fall opening of the restored Bobby Jones Golf Course,  buildings are being planned by contractor Jon F. Swift of Sarasota. 

On Monday, city commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to the contract with Swift for a design-build of a temporary clubhouse and some permanent buildings on the course. Swift has proposed a guaranteed maximum price of $5.29 million for a project scope that includes the Gillespie Building at the par-3 adjustable course, a driving range building and on-course restrooms in addition to parking lots and the temporary clubhouse.

The Gillespie Building will essentially be a starter’s house at the par-3 course across Circus Boulevard from the main entrance at Azinger Drive. It will include restrooms and a small sundries shop. On the main course, two restroom buildings will be located near the 4th and 12th tees. The driving range building will also include restrooms and a ball dispenser room.

Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch asked about the future disposition of the temporary clubhouse, a portable 2,400-square-foot module that will be used until a permanent structure is built.

“We'll have the option of repurposing it because we will own the building instead of renting it,” said Sue Martin, the city’s Parks and Recreation general manager. “We did a cost analysis, and it's actually cost-wise better to just purchase than to rent this module. The city will have the option to repurpose it somewhere else in the city, or we could always send it to auction and sell it.”

A view from near the parking area toward where the driving range and eventual permanent clubhiouse will be located at the Bobby Jones Golf Course.
Photo by Andrew Warfield

Jason Swift of Jon F. Swift told commissioners the location of the temporary clubhouse will not affect the eventual construction of the permanent facility.

“The whole site plan is designed with knowing where that big envelope for where that future clubhouse will sit,” he said. “We are designing utility infrastructure within this package to serve that building so that when the building is ready to be permitted and the budget approved, (we) are able to start the construction on it without having it interfere with improvements that were already done.”

At $12.5 million, the golf portion of the 307-acre project includes the 18-hole restoration of the original 1925 Donald Ross layout, the adjustable par-3 course, practice facility, temporary clubhouse and eventually a new permanent clubhouse and other utility buildings. The golf complex will cover 187 acres, the remainder of the site comprised of a nature park and wetlands designed to purify runoff that flows through the property from 17th Street to Fruitville Road.

The projected is funded by a $20 million city bond, a $3 million Southwest Florida Water Management District grant for wetlands improvement with a 50% local match; and a $487,500 Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant. 

Golf revenues are planned to cover course operations and be applied toward the debt service.



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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