Built, owned and operated by the Pacific Lumber Company (Palco) the Scotia Recreation Center opened in 1959. The original building plans contained the gym and pool, locker rooms, a stage and a large kitchen that ran the full width of the gym on its north end. In the 1960's, racquetball courts and an upstairs weight room were added in the area originally designated as a kitchen. The stage area became a separate activity room. The pool used chlorine gas to sanitize the water. This was later replaced with a system using liquid chlorine and, eventually, chlorine tablets which are much easier to work with and less dangerous.
The facility had a staff of up to 14 part-time employees and was open six days a week. Memberships were available to Palco employee families for $10 a month. Non-employees were able to use the pool by paying a drop-in fee. Students from the Scotia school were able to use the gym and pool as part of the PE program.
The Scotia school has always been an independent school district. That district owns it's facilities. However, the school was built on land owned by Palco. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings that began in 2008, the land upon which the school sits and that upon which the gym sits were offered for sale to the school district. The purchase was completed and the Scotia Recreation Center was included, along with the land.
As soon as it became the property of the school district a whole new set of regulations came into effect. The state has strict rules pertaining to buildings owned and operated by schools. The state architects inspected the building and issued a directive that mandated approximately $2.5 million worth of upgrades to the building (to bring it up to current earthquake and ADA standards) before it could be used by the school students.
The restrictions applying to the school use of the building did not, however, apply to the general public. For this reason non-profit groups were allowed by the school to sponsor programs in the facility. These groups had to provide their own liability insurance. Thus, school students (as well as community members) had access by being part of AAU basketball (Amateur Athletic Union), the Scotia Swim Team, the Masters Swimmers (adults) or the Futsal indoor soccer program.
The Scotia Swim Team had been using the pool for nineteen years under Palco ownership and continued when the school took over. The other groups noted above, as well as one of the local churches, all provided programs for children and adults. The people involved with these groups contributed significant money and volunteer time to the facility. This included housekeeping, gym floor care, pool care, general maintenance and lawn mowing.
Throughout its history, the facility had utilities provided by Palco. Steam (for heating) and electricity were provided by the Scotia power generation plant. Water and sewer services were tied to the company's water treatment plant. When the school acquired the property these arrangements were still in place. After completion of the Palco bankruptcy proceedings the provision of these utilities began to be parceled out to private or commercial providers (ie. PG and E, the Town of Scotia) who would soon begin to require payment for services rendered. Prior to this time there was no cost to the school district for these services.
The steam supply system throughout the town was antiquated and plans were made to discontinue it's use, in favor of natural gas for heating. In February 2012 the steam was turned off. Without this source of heat for the building it's operation could not continue. The facility was then closed to all use.
PLANS TO RENOVATE
The main structure and all of the systems contained within it needed to be upgraded to modern standards. The process was begun by applying for state funding of approximately 2.5 million dollars. This is an understatement of what was, in reality, an arduous and lengthy process. Many hours and many months were required in communicating back and forth with the various state entities involved. This work was begun by Mrs. Jaenelle Lampp, the district superintendent at the time. However, most of the effort was put forth by the late Mr. Dennis Hanson, who acted as facilitator between the district and the state. More recently this task has fallen to Mr. Ronan Collver, the current district superintendent.
In June of 2013 the first money was approved and released to the district for architectural study and engineering testing of the structure as it currently existed. Once the integrity of the current structure is understood, the decisions about what exactly will be required to accomplish the renovation can be made. The state is holding the remaining funds needed to complete the remodel. If all goes according to plan, construction plans will be drawn and approved. A contracting firm will then be retained to do the actual work and the funds to pay for it will be released. The end result should be a safer and stronger building with new electrical, plumbing and heating systems. The locker rooms and showers will also be remodeled.
SO WHAT'S GOING ON?
Updates on the progress of the renovation, as provided by the school administration, are detailed on the next page.
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