Community Center is center of the community
January 29, 2019
Chances are most of you have been within the community center at 851 E. William St., at one time or another. This well-used building has hosted presidential hopefuls, countless Board of Supervisors meetings, church meetings, fitness classes, sports tournaments, summer camps, touring groups, local and regional stage productions, concerts, and much more.
This busy heart of the community is under the management of the Carson City Parks & Recreation Department. Within the center is a 10,000-square-foot gym built in 1969, a large classroom, two smaller meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen, and, soon, the newly renovated 500-plus seat theater.
All this is overseen by a small, but mighty, staff under the supervision of Parks Director Jennifer Budge and Dan Earp, recreation supervisor.
Two millennials are overseeing the day-to-day operations. Eric Klug (34) has overseen the entire facility since 2014 when he was promoted to program manager after serving as theater coordinator since 2010. Prior to working with the city, he worked at the Brewery Arts Center as technical director.
Klug tells us, "The theater alone has something going on over 260 days per year. The only time the doors are completely locked are on Nevada Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas." Most of the users are from the local non-profit community (55 percent), school district (40 percent), and commercial users total (about 5 percent).
Assisting him since 2014 is Kristine Kirchoff (30), recreation program coordinator, who previously worked for the Western Nevada Musical Theater Company doing whatever it took behind the scenes to stage a successful production.
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While working for WNMTC, she served "on call" as a lighting tech for the theater for two years before becoming a permanent staff member. She did perform on stage, but "I am much happier being behind the scenes," she declares while sitting in her makeshift office in the sound booth.
While these two are in "charge," there are custodians who assist with the opening of the building when the first class begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends – at times – around midnight. Yes, this is a busy place and sometimes that busy place can show extreme wear and tear, especially when there has been deferred maintenance.
Today, the money for the remodel are being allocated from some Question 18 monies, a portion of the 1/8 cent sales tax approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2014, and a good chunk is being allocated from the Redevelopment Fund. The community center is within Redevelopment District 1.
Governments can build buildings through bonding or special tax assessments, but the monies to keep them maintained are much harder to come by and in down times, often much needed non-emergency maintenance is deferred. Many of Carson's public buildings – including the Community Center – were sorely neglected during the economic downturn.
Klug and Kirchoff are instrumental in overseeing the revitalization of the theater and have chosen the color palette to conform with today's color schemes. Gone will be the orange so prevalent in the 1970s, replaced by the more sophisticated colors in various shades of gray – cool, neutral, timeless – and black – elegant and sophisticated – palette that will completely transform the theater.
The timeless nature of these colors should last at least another 44 years before remodeling.