NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Reopening the Newton Falls Community Center would cost the city at least $1.7 million, according to an assessment completed by DeSalvo Construction.
That $1.7 million price tag would cover repairs to the building that currently stands. It would cost $2.16 million to completely replace it.
The city closed the Community Center at the end of last year but had it assessed to see if it would be worth the investment into some much-needed repairs. The results of that assessment were unveiled at a special City Council meeting on Monday.
The cost was determined due to numerous repairs needed to make the building compliant with Ohio Building Code as well as with ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The building was dedicated as the city’s community center in 1942 and it was up to code standards at the time, but it doesn’t comply with more stringent requirements more recently put into place.
The assessment noted that the building’s foundation is beginning to deteriorate, and the vinyl siding “appears to have met its life expectancy.” The report also noted that “exterior walls appear not to be properly insulated,” and “there have been problems with black mold on the exterior walls in the past.”
Other repairs suggested were replacing windows and the roof, servicing front doors and man doors and fixing a ramp and fire exits so they’re up to code.
The report also noted, “Due to the existing conditions of the electrical equipment and the overwhelming evidence of flooding within the basement, a serious and potentially life-threatening electrocution hazard may be created should occupants enter the basement upon signs of flooding. It is strongly recommended that no building occupant (staff or the public) enter the basement upon signs of flooding until the water infiltration issue can be rectified and the electrical equipment has been deemed safe.”
The assessment recommended some additional testing, as well as a lengthy list of building updates.
Community member Keith Capirano said he thinks it will be tough to find the money to repair or replace the building.
“We’re not very happy with the way the community center was maintained, and for them to come back to us with a new tax levy on anything like that, I just don’t feel that the citizens are going to go for that,” he said.
Newton Falls City Manager Jack Haney denied that the city hasn’t been maintaining the building, however.
“We have been maintaining it to the best of our ability, given the fiscal wherewithal that we do have. We are limited in the funding, and we have spent up to that,” he said.
He said Monday was the first time that he received the assessment.
The entire report’s findings will be posted on the city’s website.