Thirty years after it was first proposed, plans for a community center in Isla Vista are now in the decision-making phase.
The I.V. Community Center Task Force heard presentations from the project designers and consultants at a meeting Monday night at 961 Embarcadero del Mar. Among the items discussed at the meeting were Opticos Design’s plans for the site and consulting firm VisionWork’s report on the project’s feasibility.
A long-term interest in creating a community center was first expressed by the I.V. Recreation and Park District in 1972. No progress was made, however, until 1998, when the IVRPD held a design competition and selected Opticos Design’s model for the center, and hired VisionWork Associates to conduct a feasibility study. Opticos representative Stefan Pellegrini presented his firm’s most recent conception of what the proposed complex would look like.
Proposed uses for the community center include child day care, adult and teen activities, tutoring and mentoring services, spaces for community events and celebrations, and outdoor recreation facilities. IVRPD board member Ariana Katovich said she thought all I.V. residents should be able to use the center’s facilities.
“We want to provide as much access to as much of the community as possible,” Katovich said.
Pellegrini said the design features a large multipurpose hall surrounded by three separate wings to be filled by the center’s three main tenants: the I.V. Teen Center, the I.V. Youth Projects (IVYP) and an intergenerational care facility called the Organization for the Needs of the Elderly (ONE). The main hall will be available for community events and will be rented out for private functions. If approved, the center will be built in Estero Park, the current site of the I.V. Teen Center.
Greg Fitzgerald and Craig Harris, both representatives of VisionWork, discussed the project’s fiscal viability.
According to the VisionWork feasibility study, the initial projection for the center’s cost of construction is $4.4 million, $250,000 of which has been allotted to a proposed skate park, one of the outdoor recreation facilities in the design plan. Costs could jump to as much as $7.5 million if environmentally friendly materials such as recycled lumber, low-chemical paints and solar panels are incorporated.
VisionWork’s report named four potential sources of funding: UCSB, the I.V. Redevelopment Agency, the sale of district-owned property and other private foundations. These four sources make up only $3.5 million in estimated funding; the remaining funds will come from Capital Fund-Raising Campaign enlisting the help of the Teen Center, IVYP and ONE. A key point underlined in the meeting was that funding would not rely on a tax increase for I.V. residents.
The next step for the project will be to secure the district’s approval for the feasibility plan outlined by VisionWork, outline long-term lease agreements with the tenants and raise the remaining funds for construction costs.