Setback for Sammamish recreation center
By JAKE LYNCH
Sammamish Reporter Editor
April 20, 2010 · 8:53 AM
The Boys and Girls Club of King County has been forced to temporarily shelve plans for a gymnasium at the new Recreation Center on the site of the old Sammamish Library.
At a Sammamish Council, Parks Commission and Sammamish Youth Board joint study session at city hall on Monday night, councilors heard that the current economic climate had hamstrung the Boys and Girls Club's fundraising efforts, which were "progressing slower than we would have liked."
According to Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici, the club had raised about $1.5 million, still some $2.5 million short of the estimated project cost of $4 million.
The agreement between the city and the Boys and Girls Club, the details of which were still being worked out, was that the city would pay for the purchase of the land and building, as well as necessary road modifications, and the club would pay for the remodel of the library and construction of a gymnasium.
In draft plans exhibited by both parties last month, the new gymnasium, which would likely include courts for basketball and volleyball, but would not include weights facilities or a pool, would be built adjoining the existing building's western edge.
In order to alleviate the traffic concerns caused by the facility's one existing entrance on 228th Avenue Northeast, the city proposed a new access road from Inglewood Hill Road, entering at the southwest corner of the site, traveling underneath the gymnasium, and connecting with the existing parking lot north of the main building.
In order to build that driveway, the city would have to strike an agreement with the owners of the neighboring land, which, in itself, is no done deal.
"There is some history with that (neighboring) building, and the ownership of the complex," Yazici said.
Parks commissioner Pauline Cantor asked the most obvious question about the Boys and Girls Club's fundraising struggle - "has the club made a commitment to continue with building a gymnasium in the future?"
Yazici said it was his understanding that the club did still intend to build the gym. But with all parties conscious of not delaying the project unduly, by jettisoning the gym idea for now they could get on with at least providing a facility for teen and community programs.
City of Sammamish Parks Director Jessi Richardson, in a memo to Yazici about the project delay, wrote that the club currently had enough money to proceed with Phase 1 (the remodel), with a small operating reserve.
"Although the gymnasium is an important feature of the building, it is not critical to opening the facility," Richardson wrote. "The Phase 1 option will be more than sufficient to kick-off teen programs during non-school hours and provide a suitable space for other recreation programs during school hours."
She said that proceeding in this manner would keep the program on, and perhaps a little ahead, of schedule, with an expected opening in late spring of 2011.
"The drawback of the phased approach is that construction of the gymnasium may never occur," Richardson wrote. "Simply stated, it would be very challenging, if not impossible, to provide language in the lease agreement requiring construction of the second phase."
She added that, were the necessary funds raised, the construction of a gymnasium on the site of an already functioning recreation center, would present further challenges, with service disruptions, potential building closures and other impacts.
It is up to the city council now to decide whether to go ahead with Phase 1 and delay construction of the gymnasium, or to put the whole project on hold until the Boys and Girls Club raises the money it needs to fulfill its commitment.Contact Sammamish Reporter Editor Jake Lynch at email@example.com.