This morning at 9AM members of the Bay Oaks Campus Advisory Committee will get their first look at the latest drawings for a brand new facility which is now 60% complete.
Bay Oaks is one of three major projects the previous town council borrowed $10 million for. The other two are improvements to Bayside Park which is located next to Nervous Nellie’s and a complete redesign of Times Square. Bayside Park is expected to be the first of the three to be completed.
The Times Square project could have begun this year however the merchants in the area wanted to wait one more year to get another uninterrupted season under their belts following the one-two punch of Red Tide and the COVID shutdown. That project should begin after the 2022 season. The Bay Oaks upgrade is expected to cost the most.
It’s been months since we heard anything about the Bay Oaks project. Before the summer break, when the town council and committees take a break from meeting, the town was pursuing a scaled down version for a new Bay Oaks, compared to what the committee was hoping for. The town also had to work out an inter-local agreement with the Lee County School district for property in that area.
Even the scaled down version now being worked on is estimated to cost more than the $5.5 million budget set aside for the rebuild. The bigger plan, the one the committee was pushing for, would have cost between $15 to $20 million.
The current upgrades include a new main building, an amphitheatre and other upgrades and improvements. One of the challenges for the facility has been getting the word out about where it is (it’s behind the library near the beach school) and getting more people to use the facility. In January we reported that about 1,150 people use the facility, according to statistics the town shared with us.