SYCC board member Sam Nolte holds a draft rendering of the proposed new multipurpose gymnasium at Monday's meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Proposed Stockert Youth multipurpose gymnasium could seat 250-plus people

BUCKHANNON – The architecture firm selected to design the Stockert Youth & Community Center’s new multipurpose gymnasium said the structure could cost $2.8 or $3.2 million, depending on what type of material is used.

Michael Mills with the Mills Group, a Morgantown and Wheeling-based architecture and planning firm, attended the Jan. 4 SYCC board meeting virtually to present potential renderings of the new building. The draft drawings presented are not final and subject to change, according to Mills and city officials, and the SYCC Board is currently exploring funding options. However, Monday’s meeting provided an overview of two possible layouts and the elements each would incorporate.

The final cost will be determined by whether the building is constructed entirely of brick or just has a brick front. Regardless, the multipurpose gymnasium will likely be comprised of two levels: an entryway level with an admission area, janitor’s closet, workout room open to the general public, the main office and public restrooms. The lower level would feature a basketball court, youth locker rooms and bathrooms, a storage area and a concession stand. A preliminary drawing also shows an outdoor patio as part of the rendering.

“I want to make sure the building doesn’t get into the floodplain, and that could pose a real challenge for us within the limits of the site, so that was one constraint,” Mills said. “Now that you own that other piece of land, it’s certainly helped us greatly.”

These draft renderings of the SYCC multipurpose gymnasium are not final and subject to change. / Image created by the Mills Group, courtesy city engineer Jay Hollen

Initially, the board discussed connecting the original SYCC building and the new gymnasium, but that would require a total fire code upgrade.  

“We’re not going to connect it and this [main] building, but one of the important pieces is the bus drop-off at the front of the building, which would serve both the existing building and the proposed building,” Mills said. “The site drawing shows a concept of a drop-off area. It might need to be a little bigger; we haven’t done all the dimensional information, but it certainly works.”

Mills said there is an opportunity to have a pocket park between the two buildings or another landscape element.

“We’re also showing a basketball court in the back, but it certainly doesn’t have to be there. There’s a playground there now, and that could certainly stay,” Mills said.

The drawing depicted a back patio and spots for a concession stand and storage area.

“There’s two little arms that reach out the back; the one on the right is a concession stand and the one on the left is a storage unit that can be used for outside or inside storage,” Mills said. “We tried to align it with the street, with a building that’s on the corner, rather than aligning it with the existing SYCC building, so I think it works out pretty well and it’s away from some of those other constraints.”

The board also discussed installing a road to enable easy exits for the Buckhannon Fire Department.

“We talked about putting in a road in the backside to connect the fire station so they have a way out, and that certainly could be achieved along the back edge of the existing SYCC building and where the outdoor basketball court is shown or where the existing playgrounds are shown today,” Mills said.

He explained the entrance to the building will be at the same level as the existing SYCC building, which will make it about three feet off the ground.

“That will allow us to have a second story underneath, where the locker rooms would be at service for the basketball court area, so we’d have a ramp or some steps onto a porch, into an entry area and then on this level, we placed the workout room, which would be a community amenity, so people do not have to go down through the court,” Mills said. “We placed the office on this floor so it could have a view of the entry and view onto the court and then the public bathrooms are on this level.”

The entry-level will also feature an admission area where an employee would greet anyone entering the building as well as a janitor’s closet.

“At this level, you’re about 10 feet above the court, so you’re looking down onto the court from the stairs to see down below,” Mills said.

He described the drawn basketball court as a college-sized court, measuring 94 feet long and 50 feet wide.

“A high school court would be 84 feet long, so this building can get shorter … so there’s a lot we have to choose to do, but I just kind of went big for now and then we can pull it back a little bit,” Mills said. “It is set up to have cross-courts, in addition to the main court and retractable bleachers on that farther side. Those bleachers seat 255 people, and it’s five rows of retractable bleachers.”

The drawing included an area for walking around the gym, represented by dashed lines around the court. The board will have to decide if the building will be floored with wood or a multipurpose floor covering.

“I priced it both ways, and the data I have come up with shows the wood floor covering will be about $5 more square foot than the multipurpose floor covering, so that will be up to the board,” Mills said.

The difference in the two price points of $2.8 million and $3.2 million was solely determined by whether the building would be constructed entirely of brick or just have a Main Street-facing brick front.  

“What I call the Cadillac version, which is a whole brick building, will cost about $3.2 million,” Mills said. “To do more of a metal building, clad in the back and just brick in the front, will save probably $300,000 or $400,000, so we’re looking at the $2.8 million range. As you all know, prices of building materials and labor are through the roof, and we’ve probably seen a 30 percent increase in the last six or eight months, so it may seem like a simple building, but there’s definitely some cost here.”

There was no vote in regard to the specifications of the building, but the board discussed bringing the plans to city council. City Recorder Randy Sanders said in the end, city council must vote on the final design while the board can make a recommendation.

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