Plans are to have it finished by the end of the year

by: GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Work continues on Sherwood's new community center in Old Town. Plans are to have the building completed by the end of the year. Work on a long-sought-after 15,000-square-foot Sherwood community arts center is continuing with plans to have the building completed by the end of the year.

Trusses and metal decking for the roof on the $4.4 million building, located directly across the street from Sherwood Plaza in Old Town, are being installed. While contractors Corp Inc. of Salem had been a little behind schedule, they’re catching up, Assistant City Manager Tom Pessemier said recently.

“They’ve been working hard the last month,” he said, saying that weather and other factors had slowed work some. “We’re still looking right at the end of the year.”

Once the building is turned over to the city, furniture and other interior items will be installed, something that could be completed over several weeks.

The center will contain telescoping seating, which will provide occupancy for about 400 people during a major theatrical performance or event.

“It actually looks like stadium seats,” Pessemier said of the seating arrangements. The performance space also can be transformed into a banquet room.

Meanwhile, anywhere from one to three retail businesses are expected to occupy 3,000 square feet inside the building. No tenants have been selected yet.

“The building has to get finished and we have to go through a leasing process,” Pessemier pointed out.

The main entrance to the arts center, which includes an exterior comprised of a brick veneer, stucco and “a lot of glass,” will be from the parking lot along Railroad Avenue. A small community plaza will be included between that Railroad Avenue-facing lot and the building’s entrance.

The building will sits on the site of an old machine shop. While original plans were to build the community center in the shell of the shop, structural deficiencies involving some of the building’s trusses forced the city to raze the structure in April 2013.

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