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Teen Center Contract Awarded
Completed on paper by 2008 but long delayed by funding problems, the Riverbank Teen Center is back on track and could become a reality by September or October.

Tackling the consent agenda, Riverbank City Council members on Monday awarded the construction contract to Menghetti Construction of Modesto, which submitted the low bid of $758,000. The seven bids submitted ranged to a high of $910,000 by Applegate Johnston Inc.

The $1 million social center for young people will be built in the city park on the west side of the existing Community Center at Santa Fe and Sixth streets from a design by architects Indigo Hammond & Playle of Davis.

The costs will be covered by a state grant of $250,000, community donations, a city special project fund, redevelopment fund and park development funds.

The State awarded the grant in 2008, froze it in early 2009 and has now restored the award.

Although only 2,600 square feet (the size of a large house), the building has an innovative design and will offer a stage that can play to either indoor or outdoor audiences, a game area, a computer center, open classroom, snack bar and an "Internet Café."

Plans for the exterior include "straw bale building walls," steel bracing, wooden columns, a metal roof and a roll-up glass door to open the stage to the park.

A Teen/Youth Committee of local youngsters, led by city Parks & Recreation Department Director Sue Fitzpatrick, met many times for over a year with the architects to design the building.

Funding proved difficult as the countrywide recession slowed construction in the area and reduced the sources of anticipated money.

The city first solicited construction bids in December of 2008 and drew a low bid of $818,000 with total costs including testing, inspections and contingencies estimated at $936,000. But the council voted 3-2 against accepting the bid and by February of 2009 the State froze its $250,000 grant and the city indefinitely halted work on the project.