Big Turnout for Workshop Focusing on Berger’s Future

(Updated July 9 with a note at the end about the meeeting video being incomplete due to an error by the videographer, and on July 8 with diagram showing proposals for Berger)

Jackie Reinhardt

The first presentation of the Berger Action Committee (BAC) drew a packed audience to the July 5 OVA Board workshop where attendees got their first glimpse of experts’ assessments of Oakmont’s aging multi-use center. BAC PP Point Presntation July, 2017

Although some opinions in the audience differed, there was widespread unanimity on one thing: BAC with its 150 years of cumulative experience in construction was up to the challenge.

Claudette Brero-Gow

“We spent a great deal of time as a committee looking at the full building with fresh eyes, even looking in the crawl spaces,

challenging ourselves to make it better,” Claudette Brero-Gow, BAC chair said in introductory remarks. Later she confirmed an earlier observation that Berger has “good bones.”

Bob Jackson, a retired Bechtel project manager, shared the findings of engineering consultants in a PowerPoint presentation that concluded the seismic work could be done any time over the next two years. Recommendations were strengthening the building’s corner column connections, installing plywood to strengthen the roof when it is replaced, adding solar panels, and drilling 50 feet below to make sure the ground underneath is solid.

Just as urgent in Jackson’s view is fire protection. “Folks, Berger has no fire protection,” he said, stressing this is a critical life safety issue in a building with sprinklers only in the kitchen. To remedy the situation he said Berger needs a high pressure water line, electrical back up power and a fire protection system that meets current standards.

Bob Jackson

BAC will ask the board at its next regular meeting for authority to hire an estimator whose first priority will be to inspect the roof and develop reliable costs for remodeling Berger or rebuilding it following the design concept now referred to as “Option 4C.”

Option 4C calls for an additional 1,721 sq. ft. in flexible space derived from a new freestanding lobby with a folding glass wall entrance and by using vertical partitions for meeting rooms D & G, which would also have separate entrances.

“This has a lot of appeal and it opens up ways Berger can be used,” Jackson said, emphasizing the new lobby with a front that could be opened up would provide an indoor/outdoor experience.

Other design features include new hardwood floors throughout, an enhanced hearing loop, new windows and doors and new painting and window covering, kitchen, lighting and stage enhancements. Bathrooms would also be reconfigured to meet ADA requirements. Also sought is replacement of the 27-year old HVAC with a system that permits seven zones to be simultaneously heated or cooled.

Art Fichtenberg

Art Fichtenberg, a commercial real estate developer also on the BAC, presented the results of a parking study conducted by Hogan Land Services. He said additional parking may be needed if the size of Berger or the CAC increases or there are more intense uses or new buildings built in the future. The proposed lobby would probably trigger a request for 14 new parking spaces, which could be easily met, according to Fichtenberg. He said 28 spaces would be available by converting some of the lawn area on the lawn bowling side of the parking lot and on the Oakmont Drive side of Berger.

Speaking during Open Forum were Iris Harrell who favored a bigger stage and more parking; Rosemary Waller who encouraged use of an acoustical engineer on behalf of Music at Oakmont; Terry Whitten who sought flooring conducive to dancing and Heidi Klyn, Boomer Club organizer, who advocated for a new much larger building.

This entire workshop presentation will be on display at Berger, on the OVA web site and at the OVA office so residents can review and get comments to the Committee and to the OVA Board.  Gray areas in the refined concept design below represent additional space achieved by a freestanding 715 sq. ft. lobby and 300 ​sq. ft. of new storage.In red is a new corridor added behind the stage to provide accessto restrooms from Meeting Room D.

The full presentation will be set up at Berger on easels, with provisions for resident comment.

(A video of the workshop is at www.oakmontvillagecom/videos. Note: The videographer ran out of media near the end of the forum, resulting in the video missing the final three speakers. The rest of the meeting is intact.)