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Auburn expects to start community center construction this summer

Long-awaited facility: A $12 million, 20,100-square-foot community center is planned for the Les Gove Park campus. - Courtesy rendering/BLRB Architects
Long-awaited facility: A $12 million, 20,100-square-foot community center is planned for the Les Gove Park campus.
— image credit: Courtesy rendering/BLRB Architects

This is the year that the Auburn Community Center in Les Gove Park starts to be a concrete, wood, stone and glass reality.

That is the expectation voiced Monday night by City Councilman Rich Wagner, the man who knows most about the long-envisioned community gathering spot.

"The target date for construction to start is July 7 ... And if we are able to start then, it would be completed in May of 2015," said Wagner, chair of the Les Gove Community Campus Committee and the center's unstinting champion for the last five years.

The City put the $12 million project out to bid four years ago, shelved it when the economy hit the skids and is ready to take it down.

From then to now, Wagner said, not much has changed respecting the design and drawings. Plans still call for a one-story, 20,100-square-foot building where the YMCA building once stood adjacent to the park, to include:

• An 8,000-square foot gathering place that can accommodate as many as 450 people, looking out on the park, equipped with sliding doors that open on a patio.

• A lobby area, an administration area, two classrooms and a warming kitchen.

• A friendship storage room, where ethnic groups may store material for programs in the center.

• A parking lot that can accommodate 128 cars.

• An office for a police presence, should the need arise.

• A grand lobby designed with a high ceiling generously windowed.

But in a nod to advances in technology that have taken place in the last five years, Wagner said, the Committee is pushing for a lighting study.

"There are LEDS that create a lot of light and in all kinds of colors, and so we have asked to have a lighting study done. We'll also do some reevaluation of the acoustical design within the building, not the building itself. but how the public address system actually works," Wagner said.

Wagner said the committee hopes to re-orient the building so it faces more directly into the park.

Committee members will hand out center-based surveys at community meetings in June.

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