By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A new gym floor and renovated restrooms are part of an ongoing project by city parks and recreations crews to spruce up the Bluefield City Auditorium and Herb Simms Youth Center.
City Manager Jim Ferguson said the repairs were needed due to ongoing maintenance issues at the facility.
“We have seven different areas we are focusing our renovation on,” Ferguson said. “It is a phased approach and we are doing things as we have the means to do. We started in the early part of February on these renovations. The facility is dated, and there were just a lot of maintenance issues. We just wanted to make it look better and address some of those maintenance issues.”
Ferguson said employees of the city’s parks and recreation department are doing most of the work.
“In house, we went ahead and did some painting and general organization and cleaning up work,” he said. “We purchased the paint, but we used personnel with parks and recreation to do the painting since there isn’t as much for them to do outside. It was a good time for us to take advantage of their work so they could get some stuff accomplished on the inside. Most of this has been in-house stuff we have done at low-cost so far. We are doing as much as we can ourselves to keep the costs down, but also make the auditorium look better.”
So far, Ferguson said the wooden bleachers have been removed from the gymnasium and replaced with wall padding.
“The bleachers were removed by the parks and recreation employees,” Ferguson said. “They just had to unbolt them and move them out of the gym. These are the old wooden bleachers that fold out. There were maintenance issues in the auditorium area and the old bleachers were not in very good shape or easy to repair. They were not being utilized and we thought it would be better to completely remove them. We just left that area open for the padding. We then installed the wall padding to protect the children when they are running and playing ball there.”
While city crews are doing what they can, Ferguson said contractors will have to be brought in to renovate the restrooms and replace the gym floor.
“We are doing as much as we can on our own, but we will have to contract some of this out,” he said. “We will most likely be bringing in independent contractors for the work on the gym floor and on the restrooms. The restrooms are very dated, and maintenance was needed there. That is something we are going to attack. Our goal is to dress up the restrooms and make sure they are ADA compliant. We are also looking to put down a new gymnasium floor.”
Ferguson said the city will wait until youth basketball leagues end for the season before beginning some repairs.
“We will be addressing taking bids for the new gym floor in the summer,” Ferguson said. “We are waiting until basketball season for the kids is over before we address the gym floor. In the next few weeks we will be starting on the restrooms as well as the exterior. We have water intrusion in the rear of the building we want to address as well.”
Ferguson said the renovations are part of continuing efforts to spruce up the city.
“We want children, parents and anyone who visits the auditorium to feel comfortable and see a clean, neat and attractive facility,” he said. “We want to take pride in our city, and the structures within our city.”
— Contact Kate Coil at email@example.com