Last updated: June 17. 2014 5:26PM - 2431 Views
By Kevin Dye Contributing writer



Signs on the front of Galbreath Recreation Center, 33 S. Center St. in West Jefferson, declare the “building is temporarily closed.” The building was closed on March 28 after a structural engineer deemed it unsafe.
Signs on the front of Galbreath Recreation Center, 33 S. Center St. in West Jefferson, declare the “building is temporarily closed.” The building was closed on March 28 after a structural engineer deemed it unsafe.
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The vice president of the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association (WJYAA) said his organization would have “no use” for a new community center, should village officials choose to tear down Galbreath Hall and start from scratch.


WJYAA President John Stanley and his brother, Vice President Herman Stanley, questioned council about the situation regarding the recently closed hall, located at 33 S. Center St., during the end of Monday night’s village council meeting.


“We are trying to see what it would cost to repair the building, but frankly we are also looking into what it would cost to tear it down,” council president Ron Garver said. “We want to do what is best for our taxpayers.”


Garver said he has been exploring a new recreation facility for the village, saying he has met with representatives from other central Ohio communities that have successfully built such a facility, or are in the process of building a facility, like Prairie Township.


He sees a new recreation facility as a way to meet all of the village’s needs, including WJYAA.


“We, West Jefferson Youth Athletics Association, have no interest in supporting a full blown community center,” Stanley said. “We are only interested in a replacement of Galbreath Hall. I would not support it.”


“That really upsets me,” Garver responded. “Why in the world would you not support a recreation center for this town?”


“I have no use for it,” Stanley replied. “We wouldn’t have full access to it. That’s just the way I feel.”


Galbreath Hall has been used for years by the WJYAA to store equipment and to host its youth basketball, among other activities. The village has given the group full use of the building without incurring costs such as utilities and rent.


As previously reported, in March a report from a certified structural engineer revealed issues with the aged structure. The building was declared unsound and unsafe for any public activities.


Stanley said he has received no estimate on what it may cost to fix the hall. He also questioned the engineer who performed the inspection, saying, “We only have an estimate from someone who doesn’t do this work for a living.”


Stanley also argued the building could be occupied if the trusses and roof are fixed.


Public service director Dave Metzger defended the engineer, saying he is certified in the type of work.


“There is a lot more wrong with that building than just trusses,” Metzger added.


He said the roof and ceiling would have to be removed, the roof support jacked up on lower beams — which may not be able to withstand the weight. Additionally, the roof would need rebuilt, and the ceiling replaced, as well as new lights and electrical system.


“We’ve spent lots of hours looking at what we can do with that building,” Metzger said. “There is nobody here who likes the problems that are going on over there. Nobody wants these problems to begin with, but this group (council) has a lot of other important issues to consider for the village.


“We feel your pain and if we had an answer we would pass it on,” Metzger continued. “Everything we look at is compounded with other issues.”

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