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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Veterans Memorial Center closed for renovations, will reopen in August


Project to update, modernize community space

The Veterans Memorial Center started renovations on March 26. The renovations are mostly focused around modernizing the center’s interior. During construction, the neighboring Veterans Memorial Theater will remain open.

The VMC is a community space that hosts recreational classes, exercise classes and summer camps. Additionally, it serves as a rentable event venue for quinceaneras, birthday parties, Davis Joint Unified School District fundraisers and many other events.

The VMC building was originally constructed in 1972, and while there have been some small-scale renovations in the past, this is the first major rehaul of the center. In 2012, City Council authorized a feasibility study to be completed to look at the general conditions of the facility — namely, expanded space for the programs in the recreation center.

“The renovations are critical — I mean we’re talking about an ancient building that needs upgrades and needs to be upgraded into this century in terms of infrastructure, so this was a longstanding need that we finally found resources to fix,” said Mayor Robb Davis.

The study, conducted by Hibser Yamauchi Architects, was completed in 2013. The company recommended several different components and phases; however, the city did not have the funding necessary to complete the proposed project.

“The city did not have the full amount of funding to complete the project as it was proposed, and so the city explored some options with the [HY architects] to look at a reduced scope of work that was more in line with what the city budget had available,” said Christine Helwig, the assistant director of the Parks and Community Services Department.  

In May 2016, a modified project was proposed, and HY architects were able to proceed with their modified plan. The majority of the funds were obtained when the former Teen Center near Central Park — currently the Bike Hall of Fame — was sold for $1.4 million. The renovations will cost approximately around $1.6 million. However, according to Helwig, this number is not final, as the final cost of the construction may be different.

The renovations will mainly be focused on updating the interior to make it more modern. While the neighboring theater is still open during the renovations, there will be some additional storage that is being built on the outside of the building.

“[They’re updating the] carpeted flooring, all the lighting to be more more environmentally friendly,” said Kristina McClellin, the supervisor of the City’s Park and Community Service Department. “We’re getting rid of the old lighting and updating the carpet linoleum. Some of the kitchen fixtures will all be replaced, so it’s really just the interior parts of it. There’s also some additional storage being built on the exterior of the building.”

Additionally, the city is looking to provide more space for teen programs, as the former Teen Center was sold in order to fund this project. According to Helwig, there have been accomodations for classes that are usually held at the Community Center. During the renovation period, these classes will be relocated to nearby high schools, the VMC and the Davis Senior Center. Some summer camps and classes, however, will be cancelled.

The center is set to reopen in August 2018. By this time, the Parks and Community Services Department hopes to have updated all of the outdated infrastructure.

“The fundamental issue here — and I think this goes for a lot of our infrastructure — is we have this amenity that we paid for years and years ago and it’s heavily used and to continue [using] it requires needed upgrades so that we can continue to benefit from it for another 30 to 40 years,” Davis said. “This is the meat and potatoes of city government: making sure that the assets that we have are maintained in a way that allows their benefits to continue into the future. Building new structures, new centers — some people may think that [that] is the answer, but my own conviction is that we need to contain what we have. [The VMC] is an asset that’s worth maintaining.”



Written by: Hannan Waliullah — city@theaggie.org



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