West U. Rec. Center Not Likely To Reopen
The future of the West U. Recreation Center is still up in the air, as city officials wait to receive the adjustment of damages to the building due to Hurricane Ike. Once the assessment is received, it will be turned over to the insurance company. Whatever the damages are, however, it is almost a surety that the Rec. Center building that exists now will never reopen.
“It is doubtful the existing building will ever open again,” said City Manager Michael Ross.
Ross says council action and the outcome of the Nov. 4 $13.8 million parks redevelopment bond election will decide the future of the facility. Should the bond election fail, council could choose to demolish the building and leave green space, or use insurance money to rebuild.
“That would be a decision for city council,” said Ross. “If the bond election passes, it will surely be rebuilt. If the bond election failed, it would be a decision council would have to make. In order to get rebuild money (from the insurance company) we have to build new. If we were going to demolish and turn it into green space and never rebuild anything, we would not get the extra claim money that would be necessary to rebuild.”
The damage – mainly flooding, a buckled gym floor and asbestos issues – could prove to have a silver lining for the city. Should the bond election pass, insurance money could lower the amount of money needed to rebuild the Rec. Center in the manner proposed in the bond.
“If the bond election passes, we should know before Nov. 4 what the insurance is going to cover, so we will know if there are funds that are going to be applied that could save dollars being spent in the bond election,” said Ross.