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Mound House museum work approved to continue

March 5, 2014
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The next stage to complete the restoration and completion of the Mound House and its property has been granted by way of an amendment between Town and a cultural resource management firm.

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council unanimously approved the contract change with SEARCH Inc. for the design and phase 2 fabrication of the museum exhibits. The next project's guaranteed maximum price was reported to be $150,000 for phase 2 and $105,000 for phase 3 installation.

According to Town records, the museum action plan has been completed and phase 1 design is underway. The action plan involves cost-saving recommendations that have lowered estimates for the second and third phases. Phase 2 fabrication was originally priced at $251,000, and phase 3 installation was first noted to be $151,400.

The savings of $147,000 will be directed to the Town's general fund.

"We are heading into completion of the jewel of Southwest Florida," said Vice Mayor Joe Kosinski in paraphrasing words from an article about Mound House in the March/April issue of RSW Living Magazine. "It's exciting."

"I am really impressed by SEARCH," added Councilwoman Jo List.

Back in October 2013, Council authorized a construction manager at risk agreement between the Town and Fowler Construction to set a guaranteed maximum price for the Mound House Restoration Phase II project. That price has been set at $748,332 with two alternatives for a fire suppression system ($10,839) and window protection ($9,333) included.

A grant for $445,000 will help in that part of Mound House completion. Approximately $1 million was said to be needed to complete the project. The restoration project will not include exterior lighting at this time.

Town officials have already committed $178,000 (museum action plan) in non-construction dollars from the $445,000 grant, leaving at least $267,000 to be applied toward restoration of the house. Reserves will help fund the entire project.

"What you are committing yourselves to is excellent work," said Cultural & Environmental Learning Center Advisory Board member Ceel Spuhler during public comment. "SEARCH has come up with some excellent ideas. We are very please with SEARCH."

Restoring the interior of the Williams H. Case House to its 1921 grandeur would help open the complete Town-owned property for tourism. The property is open for pedestrian traffic, and tours for the walk-in underground shell mound exhibit and landscape plantings are available for donations only until the project is completed.



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