Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner at Monday's Stockert Youth & Community Center Board meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Stockert board ponders how to pay for proposed multi-purpose gymnasium addition to youth, community center

BUCKHANNON – The Stockert Youth & Community Center Board will see renderings of the proposed new multi-purpose gymnasium during their January meeting.

The board discussed potential renderings during their Dec. 6 meeting, prompting SYCC board member Nancy Shone to ask how they planned to pay for the new building once a design has been laid out.

“The cost is definitely going to come in for more than what we have, so what is the likelihood of council borrowing the money?” Shobe said.

Mayor Robbie Skinner said that would need to be a discussion among city council members.

“I don’t know – I can’t speak for them – but if I had to guess right now, I would say it would be split,” Skinner said. “It’s a lot of money to borrow, and I think it would be split based on conversations I’ve had with the rest of council.”

Board member Pam Martin asked Skinner if council members have seen the state of the current Stockert Youth & Community Center.

“Dave Thomas is going have a hard time visualizing everything, so he’s only going by what we tell him, but I know CJ has been over there, Pam and I have been over there, and I know Randy’s been through there,” Skinner said.

Board member Sam Nolte noted that Skinner seemed to be on the fence about borrowing money to build the new gym.

“I don’t like borrowing that kind of money. I’ll be honest with you, I think that’s a lot to ask of the taxpayers,” Skinner said. “I’m not saying I wouldn’t support it. It’s not my choice; the council chooses, but I have concerns about borrowing that kind of money. It’s a lot to go back to taxpayers and try to justify.”

Board member Pam Bucklew asked if they have explored grant options.

“We’ve talked to Shane [Whitehair] at Region VII Planning & Development Council, and there’s so much more money that’s going to come into the state through the infrastructure plan that’s been passed,” Skinner said. “A lot of grantors are receiving a lot of money for projects like this.”

Skinner said it will probably be easier to determine the actual cost of the building when they have a rendering to overview.

“I think it would be really good to have the visual – see what we’re working with, see what the price tag is, see what we’re looking at as far as rendering, and there might be an opportunity to see if there is wasted space,” Skinner said. “I think once we get a visual and see what we’re going to be presenting, it will be easier. I need to see it before I say yes to anything.”

Skinner said he did not think the SYCC capital campaign would be able to produce enough money to cover the entire cost of the new structure.

“I think the donation campaign is only going to take us so far. I think we all agree the donation campaign is not going to get us to the full price tag of building,” Skinner said. “I think the donation campaign could get us probably 40 or 50 percent if we max it out.”

He said the latest estimated cost is approximately $2.5 million, and the capital campaign has raised $428,547.16 with a $12,000 pledge as of the Dec. 6 meeting.

“Buddy Brady has been consistent that once we get a visual and get these properties down, that this is going to help us to kind of jumpstart our campaign again, which I agree,” Skinner said. “I think that’s going to help us with closing the gap. Once we have a press release saying we own the property, plus put out a rendering of what we’re looking to fundraise or to continue fundraising for, I think that will help us get additional funds.”

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