BUCKHANNON – Members of the Southern Upshur Business Association received an update on the Stockert Youth and Community Center’s expansion and the center’s various programs Wednesday.
Debora Brockleman, executive director of SYCC, said the building will be a multi-functional auditorium/gymnasium.
“It’s going to be a multipurpose building,” Brockleman said. “But basketball, we’ve outgrown our program, we have 400 kids playing basketball, and we’re always borrowing space from the high school to have games and we have to pay to use it. Then, we get kicked out randomly because the high school will have a makeup game or a wrestling tournament.”
She said now the center has raised over half the money needed for the new building, and city officials and board members of the SYCC, which operates under the umbrella of the City of Buckhannon, need to decide on a location.
“We’re just trying to figure out the exact spot because we thought we had it all figured out,” Brockleman said. “Now there’s a possibility we could get the property right beside of us, which is the old house that’s used by the Knights of Pythias.”
She said the property is being appraised and if they can afford the property, the building could go right next to their main property. If that scenario does not work out, Brockleman said the playground, volleyball area and outdoor basketball court will be moved and the building will probably be placed there.
“For phase one, it’ll have a full-size basketball court and then two courts that go sideways for the younger kids, so we could have two games going on at the same time for the younger kids,” Brockleman said.
The court will be versatile in that it could potentially be used for volleyball and pickleball. It will also feature seating for 200 people, restrooms and a snack bar area.
“Approximately, it’s going to cost $400,000, and we have a little more than half of that,” Brockleman said. “As soon as we figure out where we are going to put it, we are going to have a groundbreaking.”
The SYCC’s capital campaign to raise money for the gymnasium addition has reached $270,892, which includes two pledges of funds the city has not yet received, director of finance and administration Amberle Jenkins said Friday.
Jenkins said $400,000 will pay for the construction of a building with a concrete floor, an HVAC system and bathrooms, but would not be enough to cover the cost of athletic flooring, bleachers and other amenities.
At the SUBA, Brockleman said the flooring, outer façade of the building and more will be installed during phase II of the project.
Brockleman also discussed the activities underway at SYCC.
SYCC currently offers an after-school program from 3:30 to 6 p.m. for children ages 5-12, who are offered activities, homework help and snacks. SYCC’s summer camp program will start the first week of summer for children ages 5-12 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Brockleman said the SYCC Drill team currently has 70 participants and is prepping for the 78th annual Strawberry Festival. Meanwhile, SYCC’s basketball program has approximately 400 participants, who are in grades kindergarten through 12th; the season recently ended in March and will start up again in November.
“There’s opportunity for every kid to play basketball,” Brockleman said. “If they don’t play on the school team, then they can play for us.”
The center also offers karate classes, kickboxing classes and a fitness center that is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brockleman said the center does not turn people away if they aren’t able to afford services.
“Something that we’ve tried to stick to, since the Stockert Youth Center came to fruition, is to have the cost of the programs low, and everybody that wants to participate can, and I don’t believe that we have ever turned a child away just because they can’t pay us.”
Stockert Youth and Community Center posts updates on their activities to their Facebook.