Goleta Community Center Update

Goleta Community Center (courtesy photo) title=
Goleta Community Center (courtesy photo)
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By the City of Goleta

There are big changes in store over the next year for the nearly 100-year-old Goleta Community Center (GCC). Located at 5679 Hollister Avenue in Old Town, two of the biggest rooms in the city-owned building have been closed since January of 2021 due to seismic concerns. The City will assume direct management of the city-owned building in January of 2023 and plans to immediately begin a seismic retrofit construction program. The goal is to re-open the full facility for community use by summer 2023.

City of Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said, “The City Council wants to ensure that this important gathering spot for Goleta meets the needs of the community for years to come.”

During the seismic retrofit construction, the main building will be closed for several months, however, operations in the auxiliary buildings, including the Senior Center Program, the CommUnify/Head Start programs, Rainbow School, Resilience Personal Training, and the Boys and Girls Club will continue as usual. 

Following the seismic renovation, the building will undergo disability access improvements to sidewalks, paths of travel, the bathrooms and sewer lines in the main building required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These projects are largely funded by federal grants from FEMA (the GCC serves as a shelter in emergencies) and a federal Community Project Funding grant secured for the project through the efforts of Representative Salud Carbajal. 

While the upcoming projects will ensure that the building is again fully usable, additional funding is needed in the future for other important upgrades. The entire building needs a refresh, both in functional systems and aesthetics, the parking lot needs to be repaved, and the Gazebo area in the front of the building needs to be rebuilt and re-landscaped. Also, funding will be needed for City programming requested at the facility once the Council adopts a Goleta Community Center Strategic Plan. Staff will work diligently to identify ways to fund the important community priorities identified in the Plan.

A group of community members is working with an Ad Hoc Committee of the City Council to create a Strategic Plan for the GCC. The plan will help set a vision and goals for the Goleta Community Center and the role it will play in our community over the short- and long-term and will outline specific steps that can be taken to achieve those goals. The plan will draw upon the results of an extensive community outreach process conducted in 2020, which included surveys and focus groups of community members and other stakeholders. It will also reflect current priorities and needs identified by the working group and community members. The Strategic Plan will use this input to set the expectations for future management of the GCC, whether it is managed by a non-profit lessee or directly by the City.
If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know. Contact Shannon Kirn, Management Analyst, at skirn@cityofgoleta.org.

Background:

The City of Goleta acquired the Community Center in 2013. In a previous life, the building served as the Goleta Union elementary school, but the school was closed in 1976 because it did not meet minimum seismic requirements for a school. For the next several decades it was run by a non-profit organization known as the Goleta Valley Community Center. 

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