The city of Elk Grove’s $18 million community center, which also features a veterans’ hall and senior center, has been delayed until January.
The 31,500-square-foot center is located at Civic Center Drive and Big Horn Boulevard, just south of Elk Grove Boulevard. Ground was broken for the facility on March 2018 and construction began a month later.
This February, Sarah Bontrager, the city’s housing and public services manager, told the Citizen that the community center’s anticipated date for completion was July 22.
However, during the Citizen’s visit to the site in late July, Lana Yoshimura, the city’s community event center manager, said that the project would not be completed for another two or three months.
“We’re still around September, Octoberish,” she said in July. “With construction, that’s not a major (delay). It’s within the time frame of contingency.”
Yoshimura noted that rain, trade tariffs and an increase in the price of steel were among the causes of the delay.
With the previous plan to complete the project by October having passed, the project is still not complete.
City spokesperson Kristin Laurence told the Citizen this week that the city hoped to open the center this month.
“We were looking for a November opening date and that hasn’t happened,” she said. “(The building) is not finished. I know we were looking at dates to try and host a grand opening (in November) and we thought we had one at one point.
“When we double checked with Public Works and they checked with the contractor, we weren’t at a point where we could say that the project was finished.”
Laurence said that the city’s current plan is to open the center in two months.
“The construction remains ongoing,” she said. “They’re in the final stages of construction, but there have been delays. We’re anticipating opening the facility in January. We don’t have a definitive date at this point.”
Asked about the reasoning for the delays in the project, Laurence mentioned similarities with other city projects that have experienced delays this year. Those projects include the city’s aquatics center and animal shelter.
“We’ve had a lot of buildings and a lot of openings and a lot of amenities that have happened later than we would have liked,” she said. “But construction is construction, and there are so many days in the contract and then you’ve got a wet winter like we did. I mean, a lot of different factors can play into delays.”
Laurence said that the city’s IllumiNATION Holiday Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 on the city’s District56 (formerly civic center) property that includes the community center, will not be affected by the construction delay.
“We will still be hosting the IllumiNATION Holiday Festival at the property on Dec. 7,” she said. “We’re not utilizing the (community center) building for it.
“We’re utilizing The Commons, which has already been a publicly accessible space for that event, with the idea that we were trying to introduce kind of that European Christmas market-type feel. And that’s always an outdoor experience. We were only looking at introducing any interior use in the event of rain.”
Laurence added that because the community center is not completed, the festival could be canceled in the event of “any significant weather.”
With the city’s plan to open the community center in January, Laurence noted that arrangements for a grand opening celebration are underway.
“It’s an event that we think would be something the public would want to attend, so we’ve decided to look to January for that,” she said. “And I think our community partners are also looking at that goal.”
Laurence added that the current plan is for the local veteran organizations and senior center to move into the building in mid-December.
Despite the delays in the community center’s opening, Pat Beal, executive director of the Senior Center of Elk Grove, said that the senior center is focused on maintaining a positive attitude.
“Obviously, we know new buildings aren’t always timely, but I think we’re trying to look at this with the best possible attitude,” she said. “It’s been somewhat challenging, because seniors would rather have things more stable.
“For the seniors that we serve, we don’t want them to be anxious. We want them to look forward to the move and be happy to be affiliated (with a building that) was built with them in mind and is going to offer more opportunities for them.”