Phil Gainer Community Center Renovations

In 2014, the City of Elkins acquired the former Elkins National Guard Armory, located on Robert E. Lee Avenue, in Second Ward. In 2016, the building was renamed the Phil Gainer Community Center (PGCC), in honor of the city’s longtime parks and recreation director. The PGCC is now operated by the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission (EPRC), which uses it to offer after-school recreation programs and rental facilities for community events. (Click here to learn more about rentals and other activities available at PGCC.)

This building was first into service in the 1960s and was well-constructed by the standards of that time. However, EPRC and city officials recognized that PGCC users and the community as a whole would benefit from certain upgrades and improvements. Elkins Common Council voted in 2019 to convey the building to the Elkins Building Commission, which issued $750,000 in municipal bonds to fund a significant renovation project.

This project, which commenced in March 2020, consists of four main areas: HVAC and electrical improvements, generator installation, replacement windows, and a new roof. All work described below is planned to be completed in 2020.

HVAC and Electrical Improvements

When acquired, the building had heat but no air conditioning. As a result, the building has seen only limited use–and generated almost no income–during the four hottest months of the year.

Project goals include installing air conditioning and improving heating, with individual heating/cooling units in each office, meeting room, restroom, and other spaces. As part of this work, the old air handlers and ductwork will also be replaced.

To support the new HVAC system, a larger electrical service will be provided. Other electrical improvements include new lights in the lobby and office corridor, with new drop ceilings, as well. One of the most important outcomes of the HVAC improvements will be to make the building usable year-round, increasing its ability to generate revenue. Along with the generator installation described below, the HVAC improvements will also enable the building to be used as an emergency shelter.

Generator Installation

Another project goal is the installation of a diesel generator capable of powering the entire building. As mentioned above, the combination of the generator and the HVAC upgrades enable the PGCC–which includes an upgraded kitchen and 4-stall shower room–to be available for use as an emergency shelter year-round.

Replacement Windows

To improve energy efficiency and user comfort, the building’s original windows are being replaced. The new windows have a much higher R-value than the ones being replaced, meaning that much less heat will be allowed to escape during the winter. One-way tinting will reduce visible glare inside the building and provide more privacy for events.

New Roof

The existing, flat roof will be replaced with a modern membrane installation. The new roof will also be slightly more sloped, to reduce pooling and resulting potential for leaks.

Other Updates

Along with the large project areas described above, planned improvements during this renovation include:

  • Building automation such as kepyad/keycard access and security cameras
  • Modification of storage room doorway for clearance of chair racks and a scissor lift
  • Repairs to a damaged kitchen door
  • Replacement of fire exit device
  • Replacement of garage-style door in gym area
  • Installation of curtain for gym stage
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