Monica Burke speaks during a luncheon about a class for seniors educating them on how to prevent falls and what to do in case they happen while at the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

Chattanooga now has an architect on board for the construction of a new Youth and Family Development center for Avondale.

Announced by Mayor Andy Berke last spring, the $6 million project will double the size of the existing facility, located at the corner of Wilcox Boulevard and Dodson Avenue. Built in 1949, the center last underwent renovations 15 years ago.

On Tuesday, the Chattanooga City Council voted 9-0 to authorize the city to enter into a $340,500 agreement with Hefferlin+Kronenberg Architects for the project.

Council Chairman Moses Freeman and Councilman Yusuf Hakeem praised the move forward. The Avondale community falls within both their districts.

"The architect is going to work with the community to come up with a design," Freeman said. "The development of [the new center] is something that has been very much needed for a very long time."


Hakeem said he believes the new center will open more programming opportunities for youth and adults, especially seniors.

The new center calls for a larger gymnasium with bleachers, a library and labs for computers and reading, Berke has said. Other renovations include a larger softball field and improved basketball courts.

The architectural agreement states the new facility will measure between 20,000 and 24,000 square feet and make use of natural daylight through windows and skylights. The existing building will remain in operation until the new center is opened, at which point it will be demolished. The city will build the center's new parking lot.

While officials originally projected the new center would be complete by fall 2017, the opening date may be closer to spring 2018. The architectural agreement allows up to 72 days for concept and design development, followed by up to 115 days for construction documentation and the project bidding and award process. Construction may take up to 300 days. In other words, it may take up to 16 months from the time the ink dries on the agreement.

The agreement calls for an environmentally sustainable approach, but does not require certification for green standards.

In other business, the council discussed the possibility of allowing Crown Castle, a Houston-based small cell technology provider, to use the city's right of way.

Jason Hagy, a Crown Castle district manager for radio frequency engineering, said the company offers extra data capacity for wireless carriers by means of antennas and receivers strategically placed on streetlights, utility poles or slim line poles.

Dense urban populations, venues which draw large crowds and geographically challenging areas all benefit from data capacity boosts, Hagy said.

The council will receive recommendations concerning how best to regulate the small cell pole right-of-way franchise by late March, Deputy City Attorney Phil Noblett said.

In December, the council approved a telecom franchise agreement with Zayo Group of Boulder, Colo., which will install underground cabling in the public right of way to improve bandwidth for cellular services companies.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.