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Area captain has big hopes for new gym


Published: Mon, March 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Renovations are 75 percent complete, the captain says.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The man in charge of the Salvation Army's Warren citadel says he hopes the facility's new gymnasium can help compensate for the loss of other community centers once renovations are complete.
A $400,000 renovation project at the citadel, 270 Franklin St. S.E., which began in October, is 75 percent complete and should be almost entirely finished next month, said Capt. Robert Kramer.
Kramer said he'd like the gym to serve some of the functions of the Rebecca Williams Community Center, which closed last fall, and the YWCA Warren, which closed its building last month.
"We would like it to be open and available for our community to have access," Kramer said, adding that he has had discussions with representatives of both closed agencies concerning this matter. The SA also wants to rent the refurbished gym for events, he added. The organization also wants to hire a gym supervisor, he said.
"The main thing is making sure that those whom the YWCA and the Rebecca Williams Center took care of don't fall through the cracks and get lost," Kramer said.
Where it stands
Renovations already completed at the Salvation Army include full replacement of a leaky roof, installation of new heating and air-conditioning units, and installation of a new scoreboard, new lights, basketball backboards, and volleyball, badminton and tennis net post hole foundations in the gym.
Still to be completed are stair tread replacements, shower room renovations, application of a second coat of paint to the gym walls and installation of the gym's new tile floor, which will include the Salvation Army's shield in its center. A new after-school computer lab will be installed in a room adjacent to the gym.
The last phase of the project will be insulation of boiler room pipes, which is to be installed after the end of the heating season. The Jack Gibson Construction Co. is the general contractor, and the architect is Baker, Bednar & amp; Associates Inc., both of Warren.
With this round of renovations, the gym will be air conditioned for the first time, and shower room renovations will make it more suitable for use as an emergency shelter, the captain said.
Paid from reserves
The project was paid for entirely out of the Salvation Army's reserves, with much of the money left over from a 1992 renovation and expansion project. The Salvation Army has operated in Warren since 1886. The present building dates to 1949, and the gym was added in the early 1970s.
Kramer said he'd like to see an emergency electric generator installed later this year at an estimated cost of $35,000 to $55,000 to help operate the Salvation Army's shelter and food service operations in the event of a power failure.
In addition to worship services and other religious activities, numerous programs and activities operate from the Salvation Army's downtown building, including a noon soup kitchen the last five business days of each month, a take-home food pantry, rent and utility assistance programs, a mobile emergency canteen, an after-school remedial reading center, a weekly ceramics class, men's and women's support groups, a mental health drop-in program and a Christmas gift giveaway.
milliken@vindy.com


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