A community center is a great way to invest in the culture and wellness of a neighborhood or town. It can be used to provide exercise opportunities for the public, meeting spaces for organizations and businesses, event spaces for local festivals, and more.
And while it may seem most appealing to build a gleaming new center with modern architectural design and state-of-the-art facilities, the City of Socorro is looking at converting the old spaces surrounding Finley gym to a community complex that could serve the community for generations to come.
Socorro would like to reinvest in a recreational complex that has been serving the community for several generations.
Socorro High was once located downtown until the spring of 1969 when it moved to its new location off Highway 60. Later the old high served as the junior high school until Sarracino Middle School was built. Since then, the complex has served as the home base for a variety of recreational activities for area youth.
Last week, the public was invited to comment on how they’d like to see the Finley gym complexed remodeled to suit the needs of its prospective clientele on what kinds of services and amenities they’d love to see in a newly-renovated facility.
NCA Architects and Planners, the same folks hired to remodel the former National Guard Amory into the Community's Convention Center along Highway 60, have participants look three concepts for reinventing Finley Gym.
Concept One includes the demolition of a portion of the west side of the building to add 26 additional parking spaces. The area where the Municipal Court is at, as well as police storage and where the Girl Scouts meet would be saved. Decorative fencing and a new entranceway would replace the demolished portion of the building into the grass courtyard.
Concept Two involves demolition of only half of the hallway on the west side of the building. The proposed concept would save some classroom space but only provide about 20 parking spaces on the west side of the remodeling building.
In each of the first two concepts, the courtyard would be remodeled.
Concept Three is the most radical concept. It involves knocking down the Municipal Court section of the building. This space would provide 80 additional parking spaces, moving police evidence storage into the current police station and moving the Police Station into the westernmost part of the existing building. A new entrance into the facility would be designed on the southwest portion of the building off the newly created parking lot area.
"This move provides more storage space, plus we'd close off the entrance to Finley Gym on McCutcheon Street," said Lloyd Martinez (title). "The biggest cost on this one is moving all the communication stuff and bringing the entire building up to code. Plus, it gives the police department more presence."
In order to remodel the facility, the city is hoping to obtain some additional funds from the next legislative session, as well as Community Block Grant money. It will cost approximately $450,000 for new electrical wiring, an additional $225,000 for a new roof, as well as extra money to redo the building's stucco and replace all the windows.
During Monday night’s Socorro City Council meeting, Martinez and Mayor Ravi Bhasker noted this was the first of many hearings that could be conducted on the redesign of Finley Gym.