Council requests feasibility study on golf clubhouse kitchen redesign, purchase of additional equipment

The scope of the Devine Golf Course clubhouse renovation project may expand after the Devine City Council discussed the possibility of adding a sprinkler system and unanimously voted to move forward with a study on the feasibility of a redesigned kitchen layout and purchase of additional kitchen equipment during a Special meeting on Tuesday, February 10.
Council approved a $342,000 clubhouse renovation plan on August 18, 2020 and approved a $450,000 tax note to pay for the project on September 22, 2020, before approving the clubhouse design layout on October 27, 2020.
The City is paying SG Golf Management, the company in charge of the golf course’s daily operations, $32,536 a month until the completion of a turn-key renovation of the clubhouse.
Sprinkler system
GRG Architecture’s Edward Garza said that under international building codes, the clubhouse’s function will change after renovation from a community hall to a restaurant, making its maximum occupancy more restrictive.
“And if you just went strictly by the code, any building of that size that exceeds 100 people would require a sprinkler system unless you get a waiver from the City, or a variance,” Garza said.
GRG estimated the clubhouse max occupancy at 120.
Mayor Cory Thompson said a sprinkler system had been discussed when the City initially undertook plans to renovate the clubhouse.
“We’ll just write ourselves a waiver,” Thompson said. “Nobody’s going to fit a hundred-plus people in that building.”
District 3 Councilman David Espinosa asked if the lack of a sprinkler system would affect the City’s insurance.
“I wouldn’t recommend waiving that sprinkler system,” City Attorney Tom Cate said.
“And how much is that going to cost?” District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall asked.
Garza suggested getting around the code by capping the max occupancy at 99.
“And then forever and a day, never allow more than 99 people in that facility,” Garza said. “That’s also a consideration.”
Espinosa said that sounded like putting a band-aid on the issue and cutting corners.
“If you’re going to have a fire you’re going to have a fire, regardless of whether you have one person in there or 99 or 100,” Espinosa said. “So I think a sprinkler system is very important.”
Scott Grego of SG Golf Management said he didn’t think 100 people would fit comfortably in the clubhouse.
“So just go to 99 occupancy anyway, so that way it’s still legal and you’re not putting a band-aid on the situation,” Grego said, adding that outside seating would also help.
Espinosa questioned whether the City’s insurance would still pay out in case of a fire and Grego and Garza indicated that it would.
“So again, my recommendation is to keep it under a hundred so that way everything’s legal and it’s still going to be comfortable in there,” Grego said.
Kitchen layout and equipment

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Garza presented the proposed changes to the kitchen layout, which were requested by Jerry and Missy Stevens of Charlie’s II. The Stevenses are slated to operate their restaurant out of the clubhouse via a subcontract with SG Golf Management.
“We had specified a certain amount of kitchen equipment for the clubhouse,” Garza said. “We have been asked to consider making some changes, and as I said last time, I think a lot of those asks make a lot of sense.”
A major change is moving the walk-in refrigerator/freezer outside to free up interior storage space and allow for a larger walk-in. The larger appliance would likely cost more and would require pouring concrete over a dirt area behind the clubhouse in order to support its weight.
Another request is to move a hot water heater and three-compartment sink into a storage room to add additional space to the cook line.
“Off the top of my head, I think they asked for the addition of a steam table, the addition of a warming table, the addition of at least a four-burner stove, and they’ve asked for a 36-inch broiler,” Garza said. “Which by my estimation won’t fit in the space provided, so we need to do some coordination with them on exactly what all is going in there and what will fit.”
Garza said that the equipment included in the original specs, which include a griddle, two fryers, and a double-stack convection oven, remain in the plans.
“That’s all to say, there’s an additional cost for the design time,” Garza said. “There’ll be some additional cost, of course, for the equipment inside. But all in all, I would agree, for what’s intended to be served out there, it makes sense. But it’s ultimately for Council to decide.”
Thompson said that when the City planned to continue to run the golf course itself, Council intended for the clubhouse to serve burger joint food and be equipped with appliances such as a fryer and griddle.
“That was the intent, and I think that the original equipment that you specified probably covered that intent,” Thompson said.
While the City’s contract with SG Golf Management calls for the City to pay for the turn-key renovation of the clubhouse, Thompson said what works as turn-key for one person may not work for another, and suggested the City stick with its initial plan but consider including additional appliance connections.
“We may need to consider those connections so they can bring in their own equipment, or somebody in the future can bring in their own equipment for what they need,” Thompson said.
Garza also brought a potential cost-saving measure to Council in the form of a less expensive grease trap made out of hardened plastic. According to Garza, a normal grease trap that separates grease from dishwasher wastewater could cost around $40,000 to purchase and install, whereas the hardened plastic kind could cost as little as $14,000.
“Wherever we can we’re looking to add savings, because we know on the other side we’re adding some cost,” Garza said.
Randall said she wanted to approve the feasibility study because it was a good layout for a restaurant.
“I like it,” Randall said. “I think it’s much better.”
Espinosa said he was in favor of the changes but needed a price, and District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler added that Council also needed to know how the changes would affect the construction timeline.
A motion by Randall and District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega to have the feasibility study done passed 5-0 with the support of Espinosa, Lawler, and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer