County OKs $16.9 million community center bid |

County OKs $16.9 million community center bid

by Sheila
Special to the R-CA rendering of the Douglas County Community & Senior Center approved by county commissioners on Thursday.

The Douglas County Community & Senior Center came nearer to reality Thursday when commissioners awarded a $16.98 million contract to a Reno/Las Vegas design-build team.Noting that the need for a larger senior center has been talked about since the 1960s, Commissioner Nancy McDermid thanked supporters for their steadfastness.“I want to thank everyone. It’s been 30 years-plus since this started. Many of you weren’t seniors then, but you are now. This is the right time, if you have any hope for the future. We’re a multigenerational society in Douglas County. This is for everyone. We are fortunate that we are able to bring this forward,” she said.According to the center timeline, construction of the 75,000-square-foot complex adjacent to Herbig Park in Gardnerville is to begin in July with occupancy expected in February 2015.The contract was awarded to the team of Core Construction of Las Vegas and Tate Snyder Kinsey Architects in Reno. Core recently completed work on Gardnerville Elementary School.“I’ve been working on this project for 17 years,” said Paul Lockwood, a member of Young at Heart and the Senior Services Advisory Council. “It started very, very slowly, but now we’re on an exponential curve which is fantastic.”Responding to a comment that the project was ill-timed because of the economy, Senior Services Advisory Council Chairman Bob Cook said it was the right time.“We’re getting a $24 million building for $17 million,” said Cook, who also chairs the Community & Senior Center Foundation, tasked with fundraising to equip the center.Speaking in favor of the center, Kory Koskin told the board growing up in Lake Tahoe, “my friends and I just lived at the gym (at the Kahle Center).”“I know kids down here would do the same. This helps seniors and helps us young guys stay on the right track. It’s an investment in our future,” he said.Melinda Gneiting held her sleeping daughter in her arms as she told the board of her struggles coaching youth volleyball leagues.“We practice late at night on courts where the net is held together with duct tape,” she said, urging approval of the center.Jim Davis said he was the father of an eighth grade National Junior Honor Society basketball player, and made weekly trips with his son to Incline Village for games and practice.“Our kids deserve a safe place to play. This will help them stay out of trouble. With the shortage of available courts and the travel, they lose time for study and sleep,” Davis said.“Seniors and our own kids have been dreaming of the day when our rec center opens its doors. Let’s make their dreams come true,” he said.Community Services Director Scott Morgan took the board through the step-by-step process which led to Thursday’s decision.“This is the CVIC Hall of Gardnerville,” Morgan said, referring to Minden’s landmark 100-year-old community building.“It will have that kind of durability that we hope will stand as a monument for many, many generations. It’s going to be a nice looking building, but it’s not a Taj Mahal. There will be no crystal chandeliers,” Morgan said.Prior to the discussion, members of the selection committee and design team were honored for their work in bringing forth the project.“I am humbled by the leadership of the board, the support from the community, and the involvement of those who contributed to the recommendations by showing up at the meetings and giving their input. It was a real positive energy they contributed to the meeting,” Morgan said Friday.“It’s the successful culmination of a very, very long process,” he said.Colene Ruggiero, a one-year resident of Gardnerville, said the center will serve as a meeting place.“It will be good for children whether they’re in sports or not, and good for families,” she said.Ruggiero, 69, said she and her 70-year-old husband Ron moved to Gardnerville because they like the tightknit community.“We need stuff out here,” she said. “This is a small town, and we need things for people to do.” Bea White, 88, called Thursday’s approval “a hallelujah moment.”“I am so delighted,” she said. She and her husband Leo retired to Carson Valley in 1999 from Grand Junction, Colo., where they operated an apple orchard after retiring from the aerospace industry.The Whites relocated to Carson Valley to be near their children.“Everything we wanted was here,” she said.Leo White died last year; the couple was married 70 years.“I’m sorry my husband didn’t live to see this,” she said Thursday. “Besides church and family, the senior center is the center of our lives.”DOUGLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY & SENIOR CENTERSize: 75,000 square feetLocation: 19-acre site at Herbig Park, GardnervillePrimary components:Senior Center: dining room for 300 people, administrative officesCommunity Center: senior day care, health nurse office, preschool, community activity roomsRecreation center: fitness and workout areas, gymnasiumsSite improvements: landscaping, parking lotConstruction cost: $16.99 millionTotal project cost: $18.6 millionOccupancy: February 2015