Upper Rogue Community Center opens doors to two story expansion

What began as one man’s dream became a reality for many when the Upper Rogue Community Center unveiled the long-awaited expansion on Friday, June 10. Although Steve Hauck, previous executive director, is now deceased, the memory of Hauck was on all minds as new director, David Abbott, swung open the doors to the 3,682 sq. ft. two-story addition. “Although Steve is no longer with us, his dream is alive and well. I think he would be proud,” said Abbott.

After much planning and consulting, construction of Phase I began July 22, 2010 by Vitus Construction, Inc. of G
old Hill, according to former board chair, Stan Johnson, who worked with Hauck on the project. Costing $660,000, the funding came from grants and donations.

Construction progressed and Abbott came on board last fall bringing experience and a vision that was in sync with Hauck’s ideas. Working with Tom Giordano of the Ashland firm, Architecture Land Planning, Abbott took a deep interest in what will be the computer lab and also in the design of the additional square footage the expansion provides. Because URCC has doubled in size, there is room to augment programs, said a gratified Abbott. He also mentioned the need for additional volunteers.

The attractive building is finished inside and out mostly in soft earth tones of light tan and green. The colors coordinate pleasingly with the library and city hall that are visible from the windows of several of the second story offices, including Abbott’s. Because the center is an American Red Cross Shelter, an ADA bathroom with shower was installed, also on the second floor, near the conference room.

A computer lab is directly behind the entry hall when arriving through the double sets of main doors. Abbott envisions youth on the computers doing homework after school and adults searching for jobs. When funding is available there will be 13 computers for the community to use. Abbott said he has applied for a grant but donations are more than welcome. Also awaiting funding is the installation of an elevator.

The main hall will also be used for rotating exhibits of artwork by local artists, classes and after school programs, added Abbott.

With cities across the nation going green, URCC was proud to lead the community by using the latest technology to harvest rainwater for fire suppression and irrigation. With the lack of a municipal water system in Shady Cove, storing water onsite makes sense. Working together, URCC and the Upper Rogue Watershed Association secured funding for two tanks to store rainwater that pours off the URCC roof, said Daryl Hawkins, vice-chair of URCC and Chair of URWA.

The catchment system, technically called RainSpace, was installed by Rain Technology, Inc. of Jacksonville. The two rectangular tanks are buried beneath the parking lot. The largest tank stores 12,000 gallons of water for fire suppression while the other stores 8,000 gallons for landscaping irrigation. “The beauty of storing water underground is there is no sun, no evaporation and as a result, no algae growth, according to Bill Savage, president and CEO of the company that did the installation.

Additionally, a water garden was designed as a Riparian area to catch and filter rainwater before it reaches the river. In response to a call for help from URCC, community members planted the grounds with 13 trees and over 100 shrubs, including water-loving trees and two kinds of grasses in the Riparian area.

Two cold, overcast Saturdays were spent planting the mostly native and drought-resistant greenery to enhance the grounds of the center. Abbott, administrative assistant Samanthy Eyman and many others worked in the mud to get ready for the grand opening. The effort was a success as the beautiful shrubs enhance the overall picture of URCC.

Although it was not needed after all, the City of Shady Cove had offered the use of equipment, said city administrator Danise Brakeman who meets regularly with Abbott over emergency services and other matters. Brakeman feels it is important the city and URCC have a good working relationship and communication over the needs of the community. “I am impressed with URCC’s contribution to the community. They provide so many services for a town this small.” She said Abbott was invited to be on the team to update the city’s emergency operations plan.

Although URCC is in Shady Cove, the center offers services, including transportation, to the whole Upper Rogue. In time, the expansion will fill many needs. What seems to stimulate most, however, is the computer lab. URCC Chair, Ginny Rigel, said, “I am excited to see it (the expansion) happen. The biggest thing for us will be to have computers available to the public Monday through Friday.”

The expansion is more than just a larger building. Thinking about it, Abbott said, “The expansion is definitely a transition for the center—a new day for us.”

The Upper Rogue Community Center is located at 22465 Highway 62 (behind city hall). For more information call 541-878-2702.
By Margaret Bradburn
For the Independent


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