RUTLAND — Mayor Tyler Eblin and the Rutland Village Council recently announced an upcoming initiative aimed at procuring supplemental funding for renovation projects at Rutland Civic Center.
According to a press release from Mayor Eblin, the Rutland Civic Center Brick Fundraiser allows individuals, families, businesses and organizations to purchase a brick with an engraving of their choice, which will be permanently placed at the center.
“Built in 1955, this building is the heart of Rutland,” Eblin said. “It has witnessed years of homecomings, theatrical programs, graduations, reunions, weddings, funerals and most notably, sporting events. Almost everyone has visited or has heard of the Rutland Civic Center.”
Nearing 67 years of age, wear and tear, the center stands at a pivotal moment where the community’s support is warranted now more than ever.
The building serves as both a community facility as well as the village hall housing the departments and offices of the Village of Rutland Government, the release stated. In 1957, the building opened for the first time as an annex of Rutland High School, named “Rutland Gymnasium,” housing the school’s athletic offices, locker and shower rooms, band room, and band director’s office in addition to the gymnasium. In 1982, the building earned its current name, “Rutland Civic Center”, when it was acquired by the Village of Rutland.
With its age, the building is experiencing a list of problems, Eblin’s release stated, including a leaky roof; a gym floor with holes; cracked and worn bleachers; leaky, single pane windows; and damaged ceilings and floors, among other issues.
“The building can’t possibly best serve the community with the conditions that it currently suffers,” Mayor Eblin said. “With issues of safety and energy inefficiency, it’s a liability and costly to taxpayers.”
After consulting with an architectural firm, Mayor Eblin believes the building can undergo renovations improving its energy efficiency, in addition to improving accessibility, use and safety. The mayor agrees, however, that these improvements will come at a cost.
The building underwent electrical and plumbing renovations in 2011, during which new fluorescent lighting in the gym replaced incandescent lighting; and new water lines were added, bypassing all original water lines, some of which ruptured, causing damage that needed repairs. These improvements were financed by grant funding.
Recent improvements have been centered on safety, security and energy efficiency. According to the press release, all office doors, including the rear exit door, now have new locks and handles with additional doors to be added. Incandescent and CFL corridor, restroom, stage and mechanical room lighting has been replaced with LED lighting. Emergency and egress lighting is now in working order. New and serviced fire extinguishers are now located throughout the building. The center is routinely cleaned by the mayor and volunteers with loads of junk that once packed corridors and mechanical rooms sorted and disposed of. The roof has underwent patch and seal work and a new, energy efficient furnace has been added in the main floor mechanical room. These improvements have been financed through donations.
Mayor Eblin stressed that improvements moving forward should be centered on fixing the leaky roof; replacing existing windows with insulated windows; reopening, repairing and re-caulking gym windows; adding industrial fans in the gym to aid in circulating heat and cool air; renovating the gym floor; and adding suspended ceilings in offices with LED lighting. Technological advances to the building’s heating and cooling systems are also suggested, such as timers and smart thermostats.
“All of these improvements will provide for a more energy efficient building, lowering energy costs, thus allowing taxpayer dollars to be utilized for other Village services,” Mayor Eblin said.
Recently, the village received $25,000 as a donation from Rutland Bottle Gas to finance building renovations. The cost of work recommended by Mayor Eblin will exceed this donation amount, and thus the brick fundraiser is being launched to help supplement this donation.
At this time, a bond measure is not being considered; instead the village aims to seek donations and grant funding to finance the renovation work.
“This building has the potential to be of great service to the Village. I would love to see it opened up more and used more,” Mayor Eblin said. “We have a lot of work left to do and revenue to bring in before that happens.”
Those interested in leaving their legacy at the Rutland Civic Center and becoming part of the success of its renovations are asked to become involved in the fundraiser by purchasing a brick. Two sizes are available, 4”x8” for $100 and 8”x8” for $150.
Orders can be placed at the Rutland Civic Center during regular business hours or online at www.villageofrutland.org. Both illustrative and textual engravings are possible. Bricks will be placed on the grounds of the Rutland Civic Center and may be viewed at any time of the day, or night. The village’s goal is to sell at least 100 bricks. The ordering period ends August 1, 2022.
Questions may be directed to Mayor Eblin by calling the Village Mayor’s Office at (740) 742-2121.