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Planning Committee gets updates on pickleball, former medical building

Evaluation of former John Muir Health building continues; planning for new pickleball facility “proceeding nicely”

By Sam Richards

Staff writer

(Friday, Aug. 11): Substantial progress is being made on two major GRF projects – the pickleball structure adjacent to Dollar Clubhouse and the Event Center, and evaluation of the former John Muir Health medical building off Rossmoor Parkway for potential GRF use, including as a possible replacement for part of the Mutual Operations Department (MOD) complex.

On Aug. 1, GRF officials were told by consultants from Rockridge Geotechnical that there are “expected signs of building settling” with the 52-year-old, 29,000-square-foot medical structure, last used by John Muir Health in 2019. The GRF-owned building’s address is 1220 Rossmoor Parkway, across the street from Rossmoor Shopping Center (Safeway).

“It has settled, but it is not sinking,” GRF General Manager Jeff Matheson told the Planning Committee on Aug. 10.

The property was under contract for purchase twice since John Muir Health left, most recently late in 2022, but both deals fell through. After the more recent sale fell through, the GRF Board took it off the market, opting instead to study possible GRF uses for the building.

One such use that’s been mentioned is to move many of the offices now at the cramped MOD complex into the old medical building.

Rockridge will continue to evaluate any ground movement over the course of the next year concurrent with ELS Architecture and Urban Design, beginning the programming phase of the project, which involves evaluating space and amenity needs of the occupants of the building.

During a discussion about the GRF Facilities Master Plan, Matheson noted that replacement of MOD – the southern section with most of the offices, at least – is planned for 2027. That plan was devised before the possibility of using the former medical building surfaced, however, and could change depending on whether it is determined that MOD offices could practically be relocated there.

Pickleball structure

Matheson told the Planning Committee that planning for the dedicated pickleball building is “proceeding nicely,” with completion estimated for some time next spring or summer. He also noted that variables, specifically the city of Walnut Creek’s permitting schedule and weather this coming fall and spring, could mean timeline changes.

The GRF Board in July formally approved plans for a $2.8 million structure near the Event Center and Dollar Clubhouse to house six pickleball courts.

Matheson told the committee highlights of the current project timeline include:

  • September 2023: Submitting construction documents to the city
  • October: Soliciting construction bids for the building, which will be due back to GRF in November
  • Also November – the plan check process with the city
  • December – Obtain building permit and final GRF Board approvals
  • January/February 2024 – Start of construction
  • Late spring/early summer – Completion of construction

The relative simplicity of the planned building, Matheson said, figures to minimize delays in permitting and construction.

Jenark replacement

GRF is working on “scripted demonstrations” with prospective software providers, Matheson said, as the process to replace GRF’s Jenark accounting and property-management software system continues.

The GRF Board has set aside $2.5 million to replace the 20-year-old Jenark software, now considered cumbersome and otherwise flawed.

The scripted demos, Matheson said, should help reveal how well various potential new software systems work with GRF-specific elements and demands.

He said Jenark’s successor system will work in coordination with Dwelling Live, Rossmoor’s new access-control system designed to more closely monitor everyone who enters or exits Rossmoor and give residents greater control over managing their guest lists.

The system is expected to be up and running sometime this summer, but Matheson told the committee on Thursday that some specific functions with Dwelling Live may not be activated until the Jenark successor software is fully in place, which could be sometime in 2024.