Imagine a grand entrance with a mosaic wall as the backdrop, leading to a large demonstration kitchen for cooking classes not far from a gymnasium with a hardwood floor.
These are some of multiple amenities the new 25,000-square-foot Canyon Country Community Center will offer to Santa Clarita Valley residents. With steel beams still exposed and construction workers roaming through the site, it’s still a work in progress, but Santa Clarita officials said Thursday it’s expected to be completed before the year’s over.
“The construction schedule looks to have final completion (at the) end of August into September — so, later this year, late summer, early fall,” said Wayne Weber, parks planning manager with the city.
Due to ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions limiting the number of people allowed to congregate indoors, the city does not yet have an opening date.
“As far as the people being able to come in and use (the community center), we’ll just be following the normal CDC guidelines and whatever the city of Santa Clarita’s guidelines are for public access to facilities. We’re hopeful that we can get people in here as soon as possible.”
The new $58 million community center, which the City Council approved for construction in 2018, is located across 9 acres on the northeast corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway, and will replace the existing community center on Flying Tiger Drive. City officials said Wednesday they don’t yet have an answer on the future use for that building once the new center is complete.
As residents hunkered down at home in 2020 during the stay-at-home order and even pre-COVID-19, construction of the project was well underway via three major phases.
Phase I included improvements to the Mint Canyon channel and storm drains, including the setup of a regional water infiltration system. Before the system, rain water would wash down the Sierra Highway corridor with debris and trash, run across the project site and on to the Santa Clara River wash and make its way to the ocean.
“We created this infiltration system (so that) the same debris that comes down Sierra Highway corridor gets channeled into these pipes, but before it does, it goes through a spinner that takes out all the pollutants in the trash,” said Weber. “We kept the trash from migrating all the way up into the ocean.”
It’s hard not to miss what consists of Phase II when driving by Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road: vertical construction. Buildup of the center building, parking, walkways, plazas and play areas are already in progress. The final phase includes off-site street improvements on Soledad Canyon Road, Sierra Highway, Dolan Way and Solamint Road.
From including sculptures and art made from local residents to the design’s flow that makes jumping from one area to the other easy and practical, the project site includes details that were “well-thought out” with the community in mind, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan.
The community center will include a full-size gymnasium, arts and crafts and computer center, fitness rooms, open turf play area, outdoor spaces for events and a demonstration kitchen that will be used for teaching.
These are all features requested by members of the community, according to Julie Calderon, a city community services supervisor, who said she’s expecting to see an increase in attendance, particularly among the youth, as the site will offer larger spaces and new amenities.
“I was overseeing the Newhall Community Center for years and our membership numbers are in the 2,000s. Pre-COVID, we saw between 300 and 500 people walking through the facility on any given day. I expect to exceed that here.”
To view more construction updates, visit santa-clarita.com/futureCCCC.