City recorder Randy Sanders at the Stockert Youth & Community Center Board's Sept. 8 meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Stockert board to meet with architect in October to finalize multipurpose building plans

BUCKHANNON –The Stockert Youth and Community Center Board plans to host a formal meeting with their architect in October to discuss potential changes to the plans for the upcoming multipurpose building.

The SYCC board discussed their plan for the new building during their Sept. 8 meeting – their first meeting since conducting an Aug. 11 public meeting, asking for the community’s input on the existing design for the new building.

City Recorder Randy Sanders, who presided over the meeting in mayor Robbie Skinner’s absence, said the board hopes to finalize the blueprint for SYCC’s multipurpose addition this October.

“The architect took back the notes and took back the feedback that was given,” Sanders said. “We haven’t had a formal meeting with the architect, so we’ve asked the mayor to give us an idea of when we can sit down with the architect, and that’s going to be an October meeting.”

Michael Mills of the Mills Group is the project’s architect and has met with the SYCC Board numerous times over the past 18 months.

Sanders said this does not slow the city or the board down from attempting to plan out the financing for the building.

“I think we all know, that doesn’t happen overnight – you don’t wait, you don’t hold one thing while you’re waiting to do the other thing – and it is going to take a while to do the financing,” Sanders said. “Two things can be going on at the same time, and I think that has been our dilemma in the past; we’ve had the hopes of grants out here, so we’ve been holding everything to just general designs.”

He hopes the meeting in October will give the board a chance to review all the suggestions made during the public meeting and make final decisions.

“We’re working and Amby has been doing her job on the financial side,” Sanders said. “We’re reaching out now to the architect saying, ‘Let’s get a meeting on the books and tweak all of the things with the input from the community that we have, and flush it out – tweak it out, adjust it out, make these final decisions.’”

“I don’t see that there’s going to be a problem with council making that final approval, with a base of at least $4 million,” Sanders added.

Amberle Jenkins, director of finance and administration for the City of Buckhannon, said she is investigating several avenues to finance the project, including a potential loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or alternatively, from several local banks.

Jenkins also confirmed that based on the design presented at the public meeting, the project is going to cost roughly $4 million.

A survey administered to 28 people who attended the Aug. 11 town hall meeting attempted to gauge public interest in six areas where the new building could facilitate related activities. Those areas included sports and recreation; education; the arts; health and wellness; workforce readiness; and character and leadership.

The results of the survey, included in city council’s Aug. 18, 2022 meeting packet, show the most interest in each of those areas: a skate park (sports and recreation); tutoring/homework help (education); photography/film (the arts); tie between budgeting and exercise classes (health and wellness); Microsoft Office training (workforce readiness); tie between alcohol and drug prevention programming and community service projects (character and leadership).

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