Youth Center campaign moves ahead

Funds needed for gym expansion

The Inter-Mountain photo by Sarah Goodrich Stockert Youth Center board members Don Nestor, from right, and Troy Brady and Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley hand Buckhannon’s finance director, Amby Jenkins, far left, pledged amounts for the project. Debora Brockelman, executive director for SYC, is excited to have the project’s fundraiser launched.

BUCKHANNON — For its capital campaign, the Stockert Youth Center will be raising funds for an expansion project that comes attached with a hefty price.

Throughout its years of existence, the Youth Center has provided a multitude of programs and opportunities to the community’s youth. Currently, the center has maximum enrollment for its after-school program, and the center is used by the public, youth group and local organizations almost weekly.

With the SYC hosting more than 12,000 youth involvement hours averaged a month, space has become an issue.

The concern prompted Debora Brockelman, executive director of SYC, to approach city leaders as well as Upshur County Commissioner and SYC board member Troy Brady and SYC board member Don Nestor.

Brockelman said, “We need to really get our gymnasium/auditorium project going.”

She continued, “We’ve been talking about it for a long time, and we’ve kind of been on the back burner, so to speak, and we’re so out of space.”

In 2004, the Youth Center underwent what was considered phase one renovations, which included asbestos removal and upgraded bathrooms. Updates also were made to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as electrical codes.

Brockelman said during that time, council and board members of SYC had discussed phase two as expanding the gymnasium. The project is expected to make the area a full-size gymnasium. The expansion would make space for a stage, a concession area and the ability for two games to be played at the same time.

“Right now, what we have is for little kids, like second- and third-graders — which that is great. But we have 10 fourth- and fifth-grade teams, and we have nine middle school teams and three high school teams currently that the space. There is just not adequate (room) to have a game, let alone a practice,” she said to members of the Buckhannon City Council during their recent meeting.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $250,000.

With the large price tag, city and county officials have launched the $1,000 challenge.

“We’re going to pass the hat to try to make a splash toward the money we need to really launch a full-blown capital campaign,” said Mayor David McCauley.

Commissioner Brady noted any donated will be a help toward getting the project in the works.

“If everybody could get the word out here tonight, I am sure there is 250 people here in Upshur County, I believe that would probably match our check, if the challenge is out there,” Brady said.

Anyone interested in contributing to fundraiser can drop off donation at the Stockert Youth Center on 79 E Main St., Buckhannon.