From left, Upshur County Commissioners Sam Nolte, president Kristie Tenney and Doug Bush discuss their decision to select Civil & Environmental Consultants to create a master plan for a future indoor/outdoor recreational complex along the Old Weston Road. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

County selects firm to create a master plan for new indoor/outdoor recreational complex

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission has selected Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. to create a master plan for a future indoor/outdoor recreational complex.

In December 2022, the commission created a committee to evaluate the six bids they received from various firms looking to design the master plan. The committee interviewed three of those firms, including the Thrasher Group of Bridgeport, W.Va.; Terradon Corporation of Poca, W.Va.; and Civil and Environmental Consultants, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but has an office in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

“A five-member committee conducted interviews of three different firms Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, and each committee member evaluated the firm based upon a set of questions, including past projects, location to the project area, and references, and based upon those evaluations, the most qualified firm was CEC,” Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry said.

Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney first announced that J.F. Allen Company had gifted the county with approximately 70 acres for the purpose of establishing a recreational facility during the commission’s Oct. 27, 2022, meeting.

At this Thursday’s meeting, commissioner Sam Nolte made a motion to move forward with negotiations with CEC, and commissioner Doug Bush seconded the motion.

“I think we’ll figure out the main plan as we move forward with the engineering company and receive community input and make sure that we’re all rowing in the same direction,” Nolte said. “I’m excited to get to this point, and I think in the next couple of months we’ll have a good idea of what the master plan would be for the facility.”

One of Nolte’s top priorities for the project includes an indoor facility.

“We’re fortunate the land is flat, but there’s still a lot of work to be done as far as drainage, infrastructure, lighting, plumbing, electrical — all that is going to be important. There’s a lot there we have to do that people may not realize,” Nolte said. “I think Upshur County lacks an indoor facility that would allow people to continue to have something to do for all ages, from zero to 100 – something that would be nice to have that is available to all the citizens, a place to go and stay healthy.”

He hopes a new indoor facility will allow groups and organizations to start new activities that Upshur County has never had before.

“We have a lot of organizations throughout the county that could utilize the space,” Nolte said. “The school system is very good about letting everyone utilize their facilities, but there’s a lack of space compared to the number of organizations that are requesting space. They may even introduce some new things we don’t currently have.”

“Stockert is building a nice gymnasium downtown and I think that’s going to be a great addition to the City of Buckhannon, and they have done a great job building their basketball program and that will allow them to have more programming around with that bigger facility,” he added.

Commissioner Doug Bush said he also envisions a space for everyone to stay active, all year around.

“I think it should be a space for overall family health, kids coming and family coming, even in the wintertime,” Bush said. “We have to have something to get people out to do things and be active; I can see a big indoor facility looking down at the athletic fields. It’s a great opportunity.”

The commission approved a Request for Qualifications during their Nov. 10, 2022, meeting. The RFQ master plan is intended to create a roadmap for the county’s future recreational complex on the 70.87 acres of land donated by the J.F. Allen Company.

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