Dayton Community Center ordered closed
Appeal Staff Writer
An aging foundation, improper beams and decaying mortar have left the Dayton Community Center unsafe for use.
The building was ordered closed Friday by Lyon County officials after the county received an engineering report that listed several deficiencies.
“They’re not overly favorable on the condition of the building, so to be safe we are moving the offices out of there,” said County Manager Dennis Stark. “We’re erring on the side of safety and caution.”
Stark didn’t believe the building would be automatically red-tagged, but said they would not allow large groups to use the building for any purpose. He said some of the offices can stay until they find another location.
“We’re not going to let classes or recreation occur there anymore, but we will allow the offices the opportunity to move their stuff out the next couple weeks,” he said.
Roger Hyytinen, a structural engineer who prepared the report, said the unreinforced masonry, an absence of connections tying the masonry to the roof and flooring and deteriorating mortar could lead to tragedy if an earthquake occurred while the building was occupied.
“We’re trying to make sure there is not substantial loss of life if there was a combination of those two occurrences there,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t have a situation like what happened in Los Angeles in the early 1930s when they had earthquakes that brought down school buildings that were of similar construction.”
Linda Clements, of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, attended a meeting Friday afternoon with county Engineer Dick Faber and workers who use the offices in the center, and said the food bank and bread bank will be open for now, but will have to find a new location soon.
Clements said the building’s days as a community center were probably over, but she hoped that it could be saved for smaller groups to use.
“Everyone is going to have to come together in the community and come up with solutions,” she said.
She said the building was built partially with salvaged masonry from the original 1864 Dayton Courthouse, which had occupied the same site, 170 Pike St., until it burned in 1909. The community center was built in 1918 and used as Dayton’s high school until the late 1950s.
The community center houses the offices of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, the Central Lyon County Youth Connections, a branch of the parks division of the county facilities department and some employees of Lyon County Human Services.
The county’s recreation department holds karate and dance classes in the center and private groups have everything from ballroom dancing lessons to public meetings.
Commissioner Bob Milz said county workers would be relocated for now to the Lyon County administrative offices at Occidental Square, and if there was room, the Healthy Communities and Central Lyon Youth Connections can go there as well.
“Those groups are doing fine work, and they don’t have funding for space,” Milz said. “They do the county’s work and they find a way to do it without us funding it.”
He expressed regret about having to halt youth activities in the building, which he said the county could not afford to restore at this time.
“We need a better recreation center for the kids and this might be an opportunity to do just that,” he said.
Milz said the county commissioners were not aware the engineering study was being done, and the building had to be closed because of liability issues.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@ nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.