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Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders speaks at the Jan. 4, 2024, Stockert Youth & Community Center. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

City says it’s ready to bid out construction of SYCC building, is waiting on federal agencies

BUCKHANNON – The Stockert Youth and Community Center has completed everything on its end to start sending out a request for bids to construct a new multipurpose facility, but SYCC and the City of Buckhannon are still waiting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to send a Letter of Conditions.

The SYCC board met to continue planning the construction of a multipurpose building Jan. 4 at City Hall, where City Recorder Randy Sanders said the board and city council are prepared to bid out the project to contractors but is still waiting to hear from the USDA.

“We have done everything in our power,” Sanders said. “The USDA asked to come back to city council one more time and very specifically explain all of the nuances, the figures, the building style, the bidding process, and basically, city council had to affirm the voting body understood it.”

“The USDA wanted to make sure the people who were voting on the financing understood what they were voting on,” he added.

The financing details and process for completing the project based on bid amounts were laid out during the Dec. 21, 2023, City Council meeting.

“We had to break it down and say the barebones building would go out to bid, and these are the alternatives that we can add on if it comes in under budget,” Sanders said. “The mayor, City Engineer Jay Hollen, and I have determined what those alternates would be based strictly on what could be done in-house by our people.”

During the Dec. 21 meeting, Hollen said each addition must be completed in the order they were presented, beginning with additive alternative 1 and ending with additive alternative 8.

“For example, you might want to finish the workout room, which is additive alternate five, [but first], you must do additive alternates one through four first,” Hollen had informed council. “Additive alternates one and two put a brick façade on East Main Street, the side facing City Hall, and then on the eastern side, which is the façade side that faces Stockert Youth Center.”

According to a city document, the additive alternates that can be added to the base bid sequentially include the following:

  • Alternative 1 – Brick façade on the East Main Street/City Hall side
  • Alternative 2 – Brick façade on the side facing SYCC
  • Alternative 3 – Add four-sided basketball court backboards and rims (2 on each side court)
  • Alternative 4 – Finish lower-level locker room area
  • Alternative 5 – Frame and finish the workout room (Room 108) on the entry level
  • Alternative 6 – Add the connector/breezeway between the original structure and the new addition
  • Alternative 7 – Add a large rear storage area and concession area
  • Alternative 8 – Addition of the student drop-off area on Main Street

“Jay, the mayor and myself have all worked hard to get this to the point where it’s in the USDA’s hands, and it’s being put into the national offices’ hands,” Sanders said. “Everything should be fine, but they have to be funded; Congress has to do their job before we can get to that next step. Once we get a Letter of Conditions, we can send out bids, and we can see where we are.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner said he hoped the delay would result in a better interest rate.

“There’s a pretty good forecast that interest rates are going to come down over the next 12 or 18 months, but how far down will they go? We don’t know,” Skinner said. “I don’t think we’re going to see them back to where they were prior to the spike, but you know, instead of eight percent, we could see five percent, which then would [create the benefit of] the USDA rate of going further down as well.”

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