Proposed move of Parent Information Center questioned
Date: 10/26/2011Oct. 26, 2011
By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD Members of the City Council Finance Committee questioned a request for proposal (RFP) that would move the Parent Information Center from the Milton Bradley School into new quarters the city would have to rent and combine it with the offices of the Springfield Parent Academy, which is already in the rented School Department offices at 1550 Main St.
The move would allow the South End Community Center which has been closed due to damage form the June 1 tornado to move some of its programs to the Milton Bradley School.
City Councilors Timothy Rooke and E. Henry Twiggs of the committee, along with Councilor Melvin Edwards, met with city Finance Director Timothy Plante on Oct. 20 to discuss the RFP.
According to the RFP, “It is the purpose and intent of this RFP to obtain a site that would be move-in ready on or about Nov. 1, 2011 and that will provide space to adequately and effectively provide services at an affordable price. The selected site should be accessible and user friendly to the children, parents, social agencies and others being served by the Center ... The Parent Information Center (‘Center’) office/clinical space and the Springfield Parent Academy (‘Academy’) office/clinical space are two (2) distinct operations however they may be combined into one space or location.
“The city expects that the Center’s office/clinical space will be about 9,500 total square feet to 10,000 total square feet. A separate proposed space for the Academy will be roughly between 2,500 to 3,000 square feet.”
Rooke questioned why the city, which is already paying rent for the space used by Academy would want an additional rental expense. Plante said he couldn’t comment on the part of the RFP involving Academy, but he explained the Parent Information Center has been asking the city for additional space for several years.
Edwards asked if the location of the Milton Bradley School played a role in the decision and Plante said no. Edwards noted there are several buildings for sale on Mulberry Street opposite the school and wondered if buying one of those locations would be better for the city than leasing space.
Plante said the city was at the limits of the debt it could carry so a sale was not possible, but a lease is at this time.
The South End Community Center would pay the city $85,000 rent for up to two years, Plante said.