The Pampa Youth and Community Center is currently raising funds for it’s largest renovation project yet. Built in 1960, the PYCC is in dire need of updates and repairs.
“The building was built in 1960, and a lot of it is just worn out. It’s been added onto several times, and we have problems with the building expanding and contracting. We fight leaking constantly. The building is probably near (the end) of it’s useful life,” said Jay Johnson of the PYCC Board of Directors.
The need for repairs is accompanied with a wish to update current activity offerings to match modern interests.
“63 years we’ve been in this building, and our uses have changed. Kids aren’t interested in the same things they were previously,” Johnson explained.
“I was there the day it opened, I was 9 years old. It had ping-pong tables, pool tables and shuffleboards. It had a lot of activities that kids used to do, but now they (kids) are into video games and all of those kinds of things. And we’re probably going to have a little of that, but mostly something new like a climbing wall and probably more of the arcade-type things. We’re open to ideas and we’ll incorporate them,” he added.
Aside from changing interests of Pampa’s youth, some of the facilities’ uses have changed and need to be updated to accommodate those changes.
“When the pool was built, it was a nice indoor pool and is the right size for competition, but there’s no place for any spectators or judges. It was built for recreation, which is great, and I’m really proud we’ve had it all these years, but we allow the school to use our pool and tennis courts free of charge. Because of that, they have some swim meets down there, but it’s pretty hard to pull them off because there’s really no place for parents to even sit,” Johnson said.
The Plan to Remain Open During Construction and Renovation
“We think it would kill our facility and the usage if we say ‘come back in a year.’ We have enough property that we can rebuild everything and have very little interruption with our facility right now,” Johnson shared.
“My hat is off to these people who put it together in the 1950’s because they were far-sighted enough to buy a lot of property. So, now what we are going to do is move a little bit to the west and build a new facility. Then we can move in and close off all the old parts (of the current facility) that we are going to demolish and hopefully never miss a beat. We are going to keep two of the metal buildings there that are in good shape and just need a little refurbishing,” he said.
What the PYCC Plans to Update and Rebuild
“Basically what we want to do is build all the same things we have currently, but put them in a better arrangement to where they all flow better,” Johnson explained.
Areas to be completely rebuilt include the pool, exercise areas, dressing areas, the handball and raquetball courts and the recreation area for kids.
“Ultimately, we’d like to build another big gym to accommodate a whole lot more for children,” he said.
The Race to Raise Remaining Funds
While the project was initially estimated to be around $7.5 million to complete, passage of time and inflation has caused that price to raise by nearly $1 million since fundraising began.
“I had open-range engineering re-estimate it for us and it’s $8.4 million now. We’ve lost some money by losing time, so I want to get it going as fast as I can before we find out it’s another half-million,” Johnson explained.
“Right now, we’ve raised right at $5 million, and that’s a firm $5 million, but I need some serious help now. One thing I don’t want to do is have $5 million commited and then fall short and let the whole thing go away and in a few years our building be so deteriorated we can’t continue. I need to raise the rest of it to get it over the finish line,” he said determinedly.
“Since things are not getting any cheaper, the sooner the better. We’ve got to get things going so we don’t have other cost increases that eat up the money. In the year 2022, our electric and gas alone was a little over $81,000, which is a little over 20 percent of our total budget.”
Optimistically, should funds be raised in a timely manner, the new youth center facilities would start being built in the middle of 2025.
PYCC increases Pampa’s Quality of Life at the Lowest-Possible Cost
“To me, the Youth Center is a quality-of-life issue for our community,” Johnson said, who has been a patron since it’s opening day.
“Our whole goal is not to make money. We’re not a for-profit business. Our goal is to keep the lights on and provide a service– it sounds silly, but all we want to do is break even. We want to pay the bills and pay the people (who work here). We want to not only offer students a place to work out and exercise and blow off steam, but we also want to have a place where we can provide some employment for high-school-aged students,” he added.
“If we were in this business to make money, we’d be in trouble. Our goal is to have a community center that is available at the lowest-possible cost. We reluctantly increase fees only when we can’t cover all of our bills. We charge $30 per person monthly. If you go to a large city that has basketball courts, tennis courts, a walking track and an indoor pool– you’d be looking at around $120 (monthly).”
Current Activities and Facilities Offered by PYCC:
Basketball Courts; Racquetball courts; indoor tennis courts; pickle ball; indoor walking track; indoor junior Olympic swimming pool with water aerobics, swim lessons and lifeguard certification for the Pampa area; free wrights; weight machines; stationary bikes; treadmills; elliptical machines; rowing machines; spin bikes with spin classes; cornhole tournaments; high intensity interval training; Crossfit training; yoga; saunas and hot tubs; restrooms and showers; dressing areas and a locker.
If you know or are part of an organization or business that would like to contribute to or ask questions about the PYCC Renovation Project, please contact Jimmy Hicks- Director of Youth Center, or Jay Johnson.