SAPULPA, Okla. — A new Sapulpa recreation center, funded by an $8.5 million bond issue, may cost more to build as inflation continues to climb. In 2020, voters approved the project to build a new Booker T. Washington recreation center.
“Just means so much for different generations,” said Sapulpa Vice Mayor Carla Gunn. “For my mother and my grandmother, it’s where they went to school. For my generation, it’s where we gathered and had fun and played basketball.”
Gunn has plenty of fond memories inside the Booker T. Washington rec center. So does Brian Mitchell who lives nearby.
“They give you donuts,” Mitchell said. “You’d go up there and eat breakfast. There was a whole lot of good things going.”
For Gunn, she wants the next generation to have their own place to enjoy.
“We want them to have some place to come and gather and learn and have opportunities,” Gunn said.
In 2020, Sapulpa voters passed an $8.5 million bond issue to pay for the new Booker T. Washington rec center.
“We thought that was a lot of money, and then all of a sudden this inflation hit,” said Gunn.
Gunn says the price of everything is going up, and that $8.5 million project is looking closer to $12 million.
“Every year that goes by, almost every 3 months those costs go up,” said Gunn. “That’s been the hard part. We’re just hoping that something will stabilize and we can get in the middle of that $8.5 million and $12 million.”
Last year, the city did a feasibility study to get a better idea of what the community wanted to see. That includes a double gym for basketball and pickleball tournaments, a 300-person event space, and classrooms with computers.
“At the beginning of this project, we knew what we wanted to see in Booker T., and now we’re going what can we afford,” said Gunn.
Gunn says as they move into phase two of the project, hiring an architect to design the building and finalize the cost, they may have to build some of their desired features at a later date or raise more money to get everything they want.
“We’re just trying to see as we go on this roller coaster of inflation where we’re at when we actually start,” said Gunn.
For some community members, they’re excited to see the finished product.
“It'd be nice for everybody,” said Mitchell.
The Vice Mayor says they’re working to make sure the new building has some of the history of the old center. They’d like to get started on the work in 2024.
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