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Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Why does Nauvoo need a community center? 

  • To provide a central location for city services for Nauvoo and the surrounding communities

  • To provide a sense of community and identity

  • To provide a supportive climate for businesses, both new and potential, and/or future residents

“…It is a beautiful, functional, well-located place that the community can, with pride, call its own.”

2.   I thought the community just needed a library, why build a big center?

Ah, long story…

  • In 2008, the library board noted that city-owned, 630 sq. ft. building was no longer meeting its needs as a learning center and was in a deteriorating condition and that new accommodations were necessary. The suggestion to build more than a library surfaced.

  • In 2009, Nauvoo participated in WIU’s MAPPING the Future activity. The suggestion: build a community center to better serve the needs of the community.

  • In 2011, the library board voted to build a new building. The opportunity to combine both needs of the library and a community center evolved, and a comprehensive study was done.

  • The feasibility of killing two birds—or more—with one stone took shape: build better facilities to improve public services that would provide a library and incorporate city offices.

  • In 2014, the city acquired the former elementary school property—always the Committee’s preferred location for the proposed facility.

  • From 2015 to the present, the former elementary school has served in a variety of capacities; however, inherent problems have found the facility inadequate.

  • 2018—three years past the library board’s hope of being in a new building by their 100th anniversary in 2015 and ten years into the vision of an expanded, more viable 8,000 sq. ft. facility, the Nauvoo Community Center Capital Campaign Committee was born.

“…It was determined that a stand-alone library is a financially sound investment for the city.”

3.   What’s in it for me and Nauvoo area residents, in general?

The Nauvoo Community Center will:

  • reflect Nauvoo’s and the surrounding areas’ image as a viable and forward-thinking community.

  • upgrade community infrastructure and avoid degradation of the downtown area.

  • serve as a catalyst for attracting year-round visitor events—conferences, business meetings, wedding receptions, hobby shows, reunions, etc.—that will help the local economy.

  • provide economies of scale for staffing, utilities, maintenance, and insurance.

  • provide a centralized location for city-related activities as it finds its way into the new political and economic environment.

  • be proactive in stabilizing Nauvoo property values.

  • create a legacy for future generations.

  • create a tax-deductible opportunity to invest locally.

  • allow those who wish to be an investor in and advocate for Nauvoo to show community pride in knowing that we thought we could, and we did.

4.   Why build something new now when rural communities are on the decline in population and economic vitality?

We believe Nauvoo has a different opportunity. There is no time like the present. If we don’t try, then nothing at all will happen. We will continue eating our infrastructure and have nothing to show for it.

5.   What kind of activities will be permitted in the community room and how will it be managed?

  • The community room is designed to host a wide variety of public and private functions, such as, city council meetings, senior citizen lunches, business conferences, family reunion events, weddings, hobby shows, concerts, professional training programs, school gatherings, etc.

  • It will be available to any group or individual willing to comply with usage rules as set by the city council. Scheduling priority would be accorded to Nauvoo public uses.

  • Banquet configuration seating capacity is 250. Auditorium configuration seating capacity is 575. The space can be divided into three separate rooms for smaller gatherings.

  • The space is not designed to accommodate basketball play or fitness equipment.

  • The city council will need to adopt policies governing private use rental rates, alcohol consumption, scheduling,

6.   Where will the Nauvoo Community Center be built?

On the city-owned 1400 block that is defined by Mulholland, Knight, Barnett, and Robinson streets, the site of the former elementary school.

“…The location is—and has been, hands down, the committee’s first choice of over 25 possible locations.”

7.   Why isn’t the former elementary school building and gym being retrofitted for this project?

The following facts were considered in reaching the decision to build a new facility:

  • The oldest building is 95 years old (1923: 16,500 sq. ft.), plus additions: 1953: 7,700 sq. ft. (vocational space and cafeteria); 1960: 7,600 sq. ft. (gym)

  • Existing problems:31,000 sq. ft., 24 furnaces, no central AC, flat roof (constant repair needed), $1 million worth of life safety code issues (reason students needed to be moved), wooden stairways, plus the present configuration was not appropriate for modern use……

  • Utility costs during grade school tenure:$24,000 (2013), (no central AC and untenanted June-August)

  • 2014-15 old grade school property purchased by city for $231,600

  • 2014 Study to upgrade old school done by Poepping, Stone, and Bach, Associates, Project No. A 14-006.

  • Estimates of Options 1, 2, and 3 do not include FFE (furniture, fixtures, and equipment), sprinklers, landscaping, parking lot, sidewalks, asbestos abatement.) Option 4 does not include FFE, sprinklers, landscaping

    • Option #1: “keep all,” $2.4 million—rehab and reconfigure the entire facility, not including furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE), parking, and landscaping.

    • Option #2: “1923 only” $1.4 million—rehab and reconfigure the original 1923 building but keep the 1953 and 1960 additions as is. This estimate did not include FFE.

    • Option #3: “1960 without lockers + an addition” $3.3 million—rehab and re-purpose the 1960 gymnasium. Remove the older structures, and build a new facility to house other community center activities. This estimate did not include lockers, FFE, parking, or landscaping.

    • Option #4: “all new” $4.3 million—includes demolition of old school, new drive, sidewalks, parking for 50 cars, unknown factors, and architectural and engineering work.

Note:  This information was taken from a June 6, 2014 study requested by a group of citizens who supported re-purposing the former grade school as opposed to razing it and building a new facility.

8.   What is going to happen to the former elementary school?

2022 update - At this time the building will remain with possible demolation at a later time.

9.   Why aren’t we keeping the gym?

2022 update - the gym will remain, with possible renovations depending on additional funding

Cost, life-safety issues, aesthetics.

10. What are the possibilities for deriving a benefit from salvaged materials in the old school building?

2022 update - the building will remain at this time

Safety, liability, and logistical issues argue against a significant public salvage program. However, the contractor hired to take down the building, may include some estimate of value derived from the sale of salvaged materials in its bid to win the contract. In any event, the demolition contractor will be responsible for disposition of all materials, salvageable or not.

Plans do call for saving the lintel in which the word, Nauvoo, is inscribed and placing this memento of the school building in decorative feature of the entry plaza.

11. What happens to individuals and groups that are currently using the old school building?

While it remains standing, the city council allows the old school building to serve as an incubator for startup businesses and other temporary uses. In every case, users understand that their occupancy will be of limited duration. Startup businesses, after proving their long run viability, are expected to relocate to permanent spaces. Community groups will have opportunity to use the new community center.

12. What will the 15,000 sq. ft. Nauvoo Community Center include?

2022 update: Building reduced to approximately 8,000 sq ft, still including all the same areas.

  • A large lobby, which includes display space

  • A 4,000+ sq. ft. flexible meeting area which can accommodate 250 people seated at tables; 575, chairs only, a flexible space and economic driver

  • A 2,400+ sq. ft. library/learning resource center, which will include a work room, housing for print and non-print resources; computer stations; work room; space for increased services; and accessible parking,

  • A 530+ sq. ft. breakout space/conference area with sink and conference table and seating capacity for about. 14 people

  • A 1,100+ sq. ft. space for city administrative offices (city clerk/collector and city treasurer), an area for public works administrator, office for the mayor, small conference room for committee meetings, storage, and small break room.

  • Also included in above is easy-access space for a tourist welcome center. This location offers accessibility, visibility, and more on-site activity

  • A 900 sq. ft., police department with state-mandated areas and increased visibility

  • A 340 sq. ft. food pantry is located with an easy access for pickup and delivery of food items.

  • A 300 sq. ft. catering kitchen, located near flexible meeting area, will have space for senior citizen storage for their monthly luncheon meetings, which will take place in the community room.

  • The remainder of the total 15,000 sq. feet includes a public corridor, storage areas, and bathrooms

  • Parking on site for 100 cars (Note:Overflow space for additional parking is available on city-owned land to the east. The additional parking will provide much-needed uptown parking spaces.)

“…The above comes from the architect’s updated needs assessment from the 2011 comprehensive study of Nauvoo groups who felt they would benefit from more space and better facilities.”

13. Can the community center function as a shelter in case of tornados, winter time power outages, or other city-wide emergencies?

The building will be compliant with all applicable building codes, but it is not designed to be a “hardened” structure capable of withstanding 100-year weather events. Its utility for temporary housing, emergency operations, or similar support activities in the event of a disaster would have to be determined by emergency management officials at the time.

14. How will the building accommodate persons with disabilities?

The building is a single level structure with no need for stairs, elevators, ramps, or similar obstacles for persons in wheel chairs. In all other respects, the building will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. As fund raising reaches a conclusion, there will be a detailed design review during which due consideration of feedback from public discussions of the building will be brought to the city’s and architect’s attention.

15. How will the community room accommodate musical performances, video presentations, and other activities requiring special configurations?

As resources allow, a portable stage, risers, acoustic shell, retractable screens, portable serving carts, and similar furnishings will be provided to allow great flexibility in configuring the room to meet the needs of a given activity.

16. What kind of treatments will the community room include to make sure that people can hear what takes place there?

The architect has specified floor, wall, and ceiling finishes that will promote good acoustics in the room. Curtain walls used to subdivide the large room into smaller spaces will be of a design and manufacture to ensure that the sound of activities in one of the spaces does not affect activities in an adjacent space.

17. How will the community center minimize consumption of energy?

Building plans specify the use of energy saving insulation, windows, lighting, and mechanical systems that will minimize energy consumption. Within budgetary constraints, energy saving technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels will be considered to the extent, they are shown to be cost-effective.

18. How will the green space between Mulholland and the community center be used? Is the city park going to move there?

As currently programed, the green space will be kept open for possible commercial development. The city council could consider alternative ideas if there is an interest in doing so.

19. Will the building’s restrooms be accessible for tour bus groups and the general public?

Yes. As planned, there is a building entrance directly next to the restrooms, conveniently located near bus accessible parking.

20. Doesn’t it create a security risk to include the police station in the same building as the library?

In the opinion of the city’s police chief, no. Although the two functions share the same roof, they have separate entrances, separate parking lots, and there is no interior passageway between them. The design of the police station includes no detention space and police practice requires immediate transportation of arrestees to the county facility in Carthage.

21. How much is it going to cost?

The 2022 architect’s estimate is $2,000,000

22. What will the $2,000,000 cover?

  • All construction costs, legal fees, architectural and engineering design fees, and other miscellaneous fees required to open the new community center

23. What is the city’s financial stake in the community center?

City funds were used to acquire the property. Once built, the ongoing utilities, maintenance, insurance, and repair costs will be paid out of city and library budgets as well as from community room rents. Specific details of the cost sharing arrangement will be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of the entities.

24.  Why isn’t the city paying for this project?

This is to be a community project and a significant number of people who consider themselves to be part of the Nauvoo community do not live in the city. Promoters of the community center agreed at the inception of the project that increasing local taxes to pay for the center would not be an option. The city, however, purchased the property—the site for the proposed community center.

25. Where will the money come from?

The capital campaign will be reaching out to Nauvoo residents, to residents in the tri-state area who have a link to Nauvoo, to businesses and institutions that have a stake in Nauvoo’s long term vitality, to alumni of Nauvoo High School and St Mary’s Academy, to former pageant participants, to former missionaries at Historic Nauvoo or the Nauvoo Temple and volunteers at the Joseph Smith Historic Site, and to visitors who come to Nauvoo for the summer attractions. The campaign will also pursue government and foundation grant opportunities as well as donations from well-off families that trace their roots to Nauvoo’s origins.

26. Do we really need a capital campaign to fund the new community center?

  • Yes. A capital campaign is a special, time-limited effort to raise a large amount of money for a specific purpose. The monies raised can only be used for the purpose for which they were solicited: in this case, a new community center.

  • This method has the added advantage of not having to raise taxes for the project and providing a significant philanthropic opportunity for people wishing to show their support of the city.

27. How does the Capital Campaign Committee plan to structure its fund-raising activity?

The committee plans to use a variety of strategies including:

  • Direct, person to person, solicitation of potential major donors

  • Offering individual or corporate sponsorship opportunities for components of the city library, the community room, the board room, and other major elements of the facility

  • Internet and social media marketing

  • Sale of inscribed pavers in the entry plaza

  • Grant applications

  • Appeals to summer visitors

  • Auctions, food sales, and similar fund-raising events.

  • Capitalizing on other initiatives as they present themselves

28. Will the present city hall/civic center, city park, and library be sold to help finance the new facility?

It is up to the city council to decide on the future of these properties.

29. Who is responsible for collecting and accounting for the donations?

All monies will be received and accounted for by the city treasurer in the Nauvoo Community Center Fund. The Fund is a part of the city’s annual audit.

A designated Capital Campaign committee member will be responsible for keeping track of all donations for acknowledgment purposes.

30. May I give donations other than cash?

Absolutely!  There are many ways to give other than by writing a check. The Nauvoo Community Center Capital Campaign Committee would be happy to accept credit cards, electronic transfer of funds, appreciated stock, IRA qualified charitable distributions (RMD), gifts of grain or property.

31. What if I want to spread my total donation over more than one year?

No problem. The pledge form allows for you to choose what’s best for you. Presently, donations may be spread out over the following years:  2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

32. How will donations be recognized?

All major donations of $5,000, or more will be recognized on the Donor Wall of Honor in the entrance foyer (using designated descriptors, as listed below):

  • Platinum      $100,000 and up

  • Gold             $50,000 to $99,999

  • Silver            $25,000 to $49,999 

  • Bronze          $5,000 to $24,999

All donors, regardless of the size of their contributions to the project will be acknowledged in a donors’ register displayed in the lobby of the building

33. Are there opportunities to secure naming rights?

Although naming rights are not available, selected public use spaces within the Nauvoo Community Center may be sponsored. In addition to  recognition on the donor wall of honor in the entrance foyer as described above, room sponsors will be recognized by wall plaques at the entrance to each sponsored space and prominently displayed within.

34. What will happen if the capital campaign does not reach its goal?

The Nauvoo Capital Campaign Committee has studied this question in depth. They are confident that the capital campaign will be successful. In the event the campaign does not reach its goal within the time frame allotted, it may be necessary to utilize additional campaign strategies or extend the campaign timetable. Alternatively, it may be possible to reduce the cost of the facility by changing construction methods or using different finishes.

35. Will the city have to contribute if not enough money is donated?

No. Construction will not begin until all the money for the project is pledged. However, if binding pledges are in order and most of the construction cost has been contributed, the city might front some of the cost and be repaid when the pledged contributions are satisfied.

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