Design work on community center begins | SierraSun.com

Design work on community center begins

David Bunker

The Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District is moving ahead with plans for a new community center, despite funding questions that might force the estimated $30 to $40 million building to be constructed in several phases.The district board approved a budget of nearly $230,000 for the design of the building at its last meeting. If all goes well, Steve Randall, district general manager, said earthwork on the project will begin next spring.But the building that is scheduled to rise from the ground in early 2007 will not be the 75,000-square-foot community center – it will be only a fraction of the entire project, district officials said.”We would like to see it all go in at once, but realistically, because of finances, it probably will not go in at once,” said district chairman Peter Werbel. The first phase of the project, which will be built with money from the district’s budget, will include a two-court gymnasium, Werbel said.For the rest of the community center to be built, adding an aquatic center and possibly even a performing arts venue, the district will have to rely on funding from the public – most likely in the form of a bond. “If we do not pass a bond, that [gym] may be the only thing that we could build,” Werbel said. “Within a year we would like to do a bond.”District officials have been working quickly on the community center planning. That’s because the land they hope to locate the building on, which was donated by East West Partners, has a stipulation on it that a building must be built on the parcel within five years or the ownership of the land reverts to the Town of Truckee.The parcel – called the commercial triangle – is located in the property bounded by Interstate 80, Highway 89 north and Donner Pass Road.The need for a new community center is obvious, said Werbel, and has been confirmed in polling studies the district has conducted.”Most of our programs are at max [capacity],” he said. “Playing basketball, there’s hardly a team that is able to practice.”The real question that the district will be investigating is how much of a bond burden Truckee area voters are willing to take on.”All these things are really needed,” Werbel said, “but what is the public’s threshold for pain?”That question will be answered when the bond goes to the ballot, which may be next spring, he said.Meanwhile, since the new building looks like it will be going up slowly, the recreation and park district is planning on holding onto their building in downtown Truckee until the new facilities are entirely built.”We will maintain this building for classrooms and programs until such time as we can finish the new building,” Randall said.