Lakewood Ranch - Sarasota Elks #2855

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Elk New Facility

As 2015 has come to an end, it’s time to look back at the accomplish-ments of the past year. Our com-mittee started the year with the challenge of finding a better and larger facility for our lodge. First, we had to determine a suitable general location. Following input from the membership, our committee decided that it should be within a few miles of our current location. Next, we looked for both exist-ing structures and building lots in that area. After determining there were no suitable exist-ing structures available, we focused on building lots. Our committee interviewed and se-lected a realtor to help us with the search. With his help, we chose a suitable and affordable (most lots were priced $400,000 and up) building lot on Lena Road. Unfortunately, our first choice sold to someone else. Our committee again looked at lots, and chose another lot on Lena Road for the same price, $275,000. Our offer was accepted. Before the closing, we interviewed and hired a land planner to meet with the Manatee County Preplanning Board and got their "blessing". We closed on the lot, and now had the site for our new lodge!

Meanwhile, our property on Lockwood Ridge Road was sold. After paying off the owner financing on our lot, $175,000, the substantial balance in the building fund allowed our committee to go forward with the process of building our new lodge. First, with feedback from the membership, we determined what rooms were necessary and the minimum size that each required. Next, we interviewed and selected a building architect to do a con-ceptual layout. After fine tuning each layout that he presented, our committee approved the layout. The com-mittee then bid out and selected a surveyor to do the topographical and tree survey work. We also selected a civil engineer/landscape architect for the layout of the grounds of the property. It should be noted that the work of the building architect, surveyor, and civil engineer/landscape architect is ongoing, and needs approval from the membership, building committee trustees, and Grand Lodge to continue. I often get asked about the total cost of the project, I don’t know, but we’ll have a pretty good idea when their work is done.

So that’s the year in retrospect. While it hasn’t all been "pretty", a tremendous amount has been accomplished. It has been a lot of hard work. The committee met 25 times in 2015, and that doesn’t include additional meetings with architects and engineers. I want to thank the committee members, Darrin Simone, Jerry Ditty, Kathy Hogue, Christine Dimarco, Jack Ogren, and Joe Jenny. I also want to thank the new facility trustees, Frank Maletesta. Brett Davis, and Joe Cooper for their guidance. Last of all, I want to thank our lodge members for your ideas, support, and encouragement.

UPDATE as of 08/26/16:

Our New Facility Committee has been busy.  We're very excited about our progress over the last several months.  We interviewed 4 building contractors, and received their bids for the project.  After examining the bids, we decided that we needed make some adjustments to the original plan to lower the cost.  These changes were primarily less paved parking, and no bar on the patio.  It should be noted that grass parking will allow us to have the same number of spaces, and that the patio bar can be added at a later date. After making these alterations to the plan, we had the contractors rebid the project and have received the adjusted bids. We are currently shopping several banks and credit unions to obtain the best loan offer. I anticipate that our committee will choose both the contractor and financing source in the very near future. This is an arduous and time consuming process, but we want do get it right.  I want to thank all the committee members for their diligence, and the membership for your support.   

Randy Volkart, New Facility Committee  Chairman

UPDATE as of February 2018:

We are getting close to making what was only a dream, into a reality. In fact, we expect to have the new lodge completed before you get your next newsletter. Recently accomplished tasks as of this writing, include the asphalt driveway, curbing, flag pole, vanities in restrooms, chair rails, and footrests around the bar. In progress is the completion of the kitchen, plumbing hookups, and irrigation system for the grounds. Coming soon, the bar top and trim, ceiling tiles, restroom dividers, carpet, irrigation well, shrubs, trees, and turf. Our committee has also approved the purchase of a portable stage and dance floor. We want to thank the membership for your incredible generosity for both the “Stampede Campaign” ($38,880, so far) and the contributions for the nine new televisions. You are amazing! We’ll see you soon in our new lodge

Randy Volkart, New Facility Committee  Chairman