LATHROP – The $5 million grant that the City of Lathrop secured to construct what is now being called The Generations Center – the community center and library complex next to Lathrop High School – was a huge boost for the community.
It finally gave them the money needed to cover construction costs and turn what was at the time only a dream into a concrete reality.
But what then? What about staff and programming and a budget that keeps the place humming?
That’s where the voters come in.
Thanks to Measure C – the one-cent sales tax increase that voters overwhelmingly approved in November – the city just recently funded two recreational administrator positions for the new complex, giving it the management clout that it needed to transform from just something that was talked about into something official.
According to Vice Mayor Omar Ornelas, the two positions will formally be funded in December, and planning will start immediately thereafter – allowing for the puzzle pieces to be put in place before construction wraps up sometime next summer. It’s already two months ahead of schedule.
“We’ve already approved them for the department and when they come on-board mid-year they’ll be able to start planning the programs that we’re going to offer at the site,” he said. “That represents a commitment from the city and the staff to start planning and moving forward with this project to bring the sorts of things that people want to see to the table.”
Lathrop has already taken steps to expand its recreation offerings in the last year, bringing on Kyle Dowley as the department’s administrator and readying itself for the pending transition into the new complex.
A variety of programs are already offered at the Lathrop Community Center and the Lathrop Senior Center, but having a centralized location – where teens and community residents can gather together, under one roof – is something that Ornelas believes will be a huge asset to the community.
And it’s something that’s going to stand out.
The building will be eye-catching. More than 70 community meetings were held before the official renderings were hammered out – the design is being handled by Manteca architect Eric Wohle – and it will feature attractions like a roll-up door that will allow for teen activities to flow both inside and outside an art gallery foyer that will allow for the community’s talents to be displayed.
It will also provide space and a fresh take on what community buildings have to be.
“One of the really cool things about this is that it’s going to be a new facility and it’s going to employ new technology,” he said. “That’s going to create something that previous generations might not have experienced and allow us to offer things that will allow people to build real-life skills that they can use on a regular basis.
“I’m not talking about regular computer classes where people learn how to get on the internet and send e-mail, I’m talking about learning coding and things like that. The President of the YAC, for the lack of a better word, already has his own company designing websites and he’d be perfect for passing that information back on to the community. It’s what The Generations Center is going to be all about.”