Stockert Youth & Community Center board members Nancy Shobe and Sam Nolte talk with architect Michael Mills at Monday's SYCC board meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

State fire marshal’s office must weigh in before new SYCC gymnasium-auditorium design can be finalized

BUCKHANNON – The Stockert Youth & Community Center Board will have to wait to hear from the Office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal before finalizing the layout and design of the new multi-purpose/gymnasium building that city and county officials have been raising funds for over the past several years.

The SYCC board kicked off the planning process of youth and community center’s new multi-purpose/gymnasium-auditorium complex, located adjacent to SYCC on Main Street where the old Knights of Pythias building stood, during a working session Oct. 14.

Michael Mills, an architect with the Mills Group attended the Nov. 1 SYCC board meeting to continue the planning process and nail down a few more details about exactly what features board members want the new addition to include.

“I want to walk through the programmatic elements that we’re talking about, to determine what’s going to go in the new building and what will be in the existing building,” Mills said. “So far, we’re going have a gym, a basketball court [that is] high school regulation size, and we’ve talked about seating for about 250 people.”

Board member Sam Nolte said it would make more sense to have at least two cross-courts in the gym.

“I believe we talked about getting as much gym space as possible, so I think two cross-courts would make more sense,” Nolte said. “If you’re looking at value here, I think the value can be found in gym space.”

A main reason the SYCC board and the center’s executive director, Debora Brockleman, say the addition is necessary is that many of SYCC’s programs — especially their basketball program — have outgrown the original building and often have to borrow gym space from schools in Upshur County.

The board also debated whether the building needed dedicated locker rooms with showers. Board member Pam Martin asked if the participants utilized the showers at the high school, to which SYCC director Debora Brockleman said no, they use they bathrooms. Mills asked if they wanted to make a multi-purpose room that could be utilized as a changing room.

Nolte asked if the multi-purpose room would be in the connector between the already existing building and the new multi-purpose complex. A key design aspect that needs to be finalized is whether or not the original SYCC building will or will not be connected to the proposed new complex.

“That was one thing we talked about today: We need to have that discussion with the fire marshal because sometimes, once you connect one building to another, they’ll make you upgrade the old building, so there may be some logic to keep them separate,” Mills told the board. “But that’s a discussion we need to take to the fire marshal.”

Michael Mills, an architect with the Mills Group, at SYCC’s Monday meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Mills said there was a discussion about the connector containing a lobby where concessions would be available and possibly the multi-purpose room or an office. The board also discussed the possibility of purchasing another strip of land adjacent to the new building, so the complex could be positioned parallel to the street.

“I think we still have some options, whether it is running long-ways or turning it sideways, perpendicular to the street or parallel to the street,” Mills said. “I think there’s still some options, but that piece of land is key because it may allow us to construct that road to the fire station, to have an out for the FEMA issue. In the previous planning session, we had two buildings pulled apart, and there was a roadway in between the two; this may allow us to do that or go to the other side of the building.”

The board also debated whether they want the floors to be wood or a rubberized composite, and Mills said he would gather more data and present them with his opinion during their next planning session.

To learn more about the SYCC’s capital campaign and the history of the center, formerly known as the Stockert Youth Center, visit the City of Buckhannon’s website.

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