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City officials to unveil community center plans

It is time for the City of Auburn to pull back the curtains on plans for a community center in the Les Gove campus so residents can see and comment on it.

To that end city officials have scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m., Thursday in the Parks, Arts and Recreation building in Les Gove Park at 910 9th St. S.E.

Representatives from BLRB Architects, Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, members of the Auburn City Council and city staff will be on hand.

“There will be plans and drawings of preliminary designs with square footages and representations of what it is going to look like,” said Daryl Faber, director of Auburn’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “People will get to see plans for the public art component and what that is going to look like and how it will be sited in the park.”

Faber said the idea behind the public meeting is to give the public a chance to comment before actual construction documents are drawn up.

For the first 45 to 60 minutes architects will be available with renderings and drawings to talk informally with the public in an open house format to discuss some of the different qualities that will be part of the project. The formal presentation and comment period starts at 7 p.m.

The total project cost is projected to be $6,929,600.

Tacoma-based BLRB has been working with the city’s Community Center Planning Committee since January. In February the firm took city officials on tours of other state-of-the art community centers in the region to get ideas.

BLRB, known for its work on civic buildings such as schools and gyms, including Auburn Mountainview High School, has contracted with the city to do the following:

• Design a 20,700-square-foot community center, adjacent to Les Gove Park, just to the north of the current 44-year-old YMCA building. The center will include a large gathering place for as many as 350 people, a lobby area, an administration area and two to three classrooms. The building itself is expected to have a “Northwest feel,” with sloping roofs, and lots of daylight in all the occupied spaces. The old YMCA building will be razed this fall.

• Reconfigure the 8,000-square-foot parks and recreation administration building – the old senior center on the north end of Les Gove Park – so it can be used as a youth and teen center.

• Design an 8,000-square-foot gymnasium to the west of the youth and teen center, connected to it by a covered walkway. It might be used during the day by senior volleyball and fitness programs and by after-school programs. In the evening, everybody will be able to use it.

Councilman Rich Wagner recently added to the community center a “friendship materials storage room.” Wagner’s idea is to fill the room with individual, lockable storage units in which groups and organizations could keep items like national flags or posters.

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