Update of the city of Goleta
From mid-July, the Goleta Community Center (GCC) will be reopened for communal use, with the exception of the dining room and the auditorium. Originally built in 1927, the GCC is an important meeting place for our community. The GCC is owned by the city and is operated by the Goleta Valley Community Center (GVCC), a nonprofit. Although the GCC has been closed to the public since March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the auditorium and main dining room were closed with great caution in January following an inspection and review of the existing building health reports by the City Council on Building Official in preparation for the improvement project. Based on this analysis and the consensus of the city’s professional staff, it was decided that these two rooms should not be open to the public until the earthquake repairs are complete.
Public safety and access to services are top priorities for the city. As such, we are aggressively seeking the more than eight million dollars needed to improve seismic and barrier-free accessibility at GCC to bring it up to today’s seismic and accessibility standards and ensure a safe facility for generations to come.
The city has applied to several funding agencies to secure the funding needed for the seismic and ADA improvements. The city has received a Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) grant to plan the seismic repairs and is qualifying for additional FEMA funding for construction. The city applied for the additional FEMA funding for the construction, but since these are not guaranteed, additional funding opportunities are also being pursued. In terms of improving accessibility, the city has allocated nearly $ 294,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for this purpose.
Even if the funding is secured, the project is expected to take several years. While we know this could be disappointing to many of our community members, the safety of GCC users is our top priority.
Fortunately, the closure of the auditorium and main dining room has no effect on the other rooms of the community center, including the Rainbow School, CommUnify and COVID-19 testing grounds on the west side of the GCC main building. The GVCC has announced that it will temporarily reopen the rest of the building in mid-July. From this point on, other rooms in the Community Center can be booked and existing programs such as the GVCC Senior Program can be resumed. GVCC staff have taken the time over the past year to upgrade and freshen up many of the classrooms and meeting rooms and are happy to see people in the programs again. For information on room rentals and programs, please contact the GVCC staff at (805) 967-1237.
To mitigate the closings of the auditorium and main dining room, city officials are working with GVCC staff to evaluate other ideas for providing additional space for community programs.
The City Council will address the challenges and future of the Goleta Community Center in its session on August 17, 2021. We encourage those interested to tune in to find out more.
When will the Goleta Valley Community Center reopen?
From an Edhat reader
California reopened two weeks ago, but there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward answer to the question, “The Goleta Valley Community Center is reopening?”
The community center is logical. It really is a hub or “center” for Goleta. Before the pandemic, it hosted a variety of activities such as dance, music, art, and sewing classes. It was a meeting place for clubs and religious groups. It provided educational programs and services for seniors, had sports activities and was used by recreational groups. It is of tremendous value to our community.
At one point it was considered as a possible town hall, but that plan was dashed as it would be an absurdly expensive option, not to mention the danger to the community. When will the Goleta Valley Community Center reopen?