By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
9:22 PM EDT, March 27, 2012
In a special meeting Monday, the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation board of directors approved an additional $600,000 for the South Berkeley Recreation Center project, officials said Tuesday.
The funding commitment for the project on the campus of Musselman High School in Inwood, W.Va., was made possible by the W. Randy Smith donor-advised fund, foundation Executive Director Amy Owen said.
Smith, who established the fund after winning a $79 million Powerball jackpot in 2010 and previously had committed $1.5 million for the recreation center project via the foundation, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
The additional financial commitment practically closes the funding gap for the $2.1 million project, according to R. Stephen “Steve” Catlett, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board.
“This is going to allow us to go forward with the project,” Catlett said. “It’s just wonderful news.”
A special meeting of the parks and recreation board to discuss the recreation center will be held Tuesday, and a vote could be taken to proceed with the project, he said.
Catlett said about $59,000 still is needed for the recreation center project, but he anticipates having no trouble raising the money by obtaining additional private support and still hopes to net more state funding. The project previously was awarded $75,000 in state money that was put toward design and planning costs.
Catlett said he has asked Senate Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, to help obtain a $50,000 grant, and has been communicating with Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin about the project as well.
Unger could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Prior to the foundation’s decision, Smithsburg-based Roy C. Kline Contractors agreed earlier this month to give the parks and recreation board an additional 30 days to try to close the approximately $600,000 funding gap.
Roy C. Kline Contractors submitted the lowest bid among 11 proposals received by the board earlier this year, but it still was higher than the $1.5 million gift Smith announced last year for the project.
As designed by Vienna, Va.-based Helbing Lipp Ltd., the 18,200-square-foot building would house two gymnasiums, and includes areas for restrooms, concessions, staff and storage.
The additional money from Smith via the foundation assures the project will be built as designed, Catlett said.
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