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West Seneca's first-of-its-kind community center, library on track for May opening

Children will be able to play basketball while their parents have a cup of coffee in front of a fireplace and Town Board members have a meeting inside West Seneca's new community center and library.

"It's the first mixed-use building of its kind in the state," Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan said Monday.

Town Board members received an update on the $13 million building Monday, which has been four years in the making.

"All in all, the project is pretty well on schedule," Town Engineer Steve Tanner said.

Tanner said some items are a little behind, while others, such as roofing and steel work, are ahead of target dates. The 35,000-square-foot building is to open May 1.

While the cost of the new building is $13 million, grants have lowered the cost to taxpayers to $11 million, Councilman Eugene Hart said. He said that will amount to about $26 on the annual tax bill for an owner of an average house of $150,000 in the town.

Tanner showed board members a three-dimensional simulation of the new building, pointing out the landscaping.

"This style of architecture requires a lot of landscaping," he said.

The Frank Lloyd Wright-esque building will have two fireplaces, a cafe, Chamber of Commerce offices and community spaces. There will be flagstone on the exterior, and a grand corridor will link the main entrance on Union Road with the entrance from the parking lot.

It's being built next to Town Hall and incorporates the old library.

The old library space will become a large community/meeting room, where the Town Board will conduct its regular meetings. Hart said that will allow the busy Town Court to have more court hours. The courtroom currently doubles as the Town Board room.

There will be three conference meeting rooms that will be governed and controlled by the town, but available to be used by the library and the community.

An exterior reflecting pool will be visible from a veterans' area inside the center.

There also will be a Maker Space, available for community use for various arts and crafts and demonstrations. The town is looking for prospective operators for the cafe.

Town Recreation Department offices will be in the new building, along with a half-court children's space with a 9-foot basket hoop, Tanner said.

The recreation area, while part of the new building, will have a separate and secured entrance.

"It's a very secure place for children and staff," he said.

But don't expect to hear a basketball pounding on the floor or shrieks of children; Tanner said the space will be soundproofed.

A two-story office area also is part of the center. The town attorney, town finance office and human resources department will be located in the office space. The two town councilmen also may have office space there, Hart said.

To accommodate the increase in services, parking will be increased by about 140 spaces.

There'll be about 100 spaces added behind the library, where construction trailers now sit, while re-striping the parking lot will add another 40, Tanner said.

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