By Kevin Dye For The Madison Press
February 23, 2014
West Jefferson Village Council and members of the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association (WJYAA) have ironed out their differences in an effort to make possible improvements to Galbreath Hall.
Galbreath Hall has long been a key component to the WJYAA athletic program for area youth. WJYAA president John Stanley and vice president Herman Stanley spoke to council recently about needed repairs and persistent rumors for the future of the building.
“I went into Galbreath Hall for two meetings and the furnace in the gym would not come on,” Herman Stanley said. “We have kids going in and out of that building and you can see your breath. We have also gotten word that you are deciding to condemn Galbreath Hall.”
It was unclear where the rumors of condemning the building originated, but council made it clear that they are only rumors. At this point is time, council is wrestling with the issue of Galbreath Hall.
The Stanleys told council that they have a volunteer repairman who would do work on Galbreath Hall, but the person is concerned about rumors that the building may be condemned by the village and is hesitant to start work.
Public service director Dave Metzger said the building has problems that need to be addressed and it’s future is unclear at the moment.
“Every heater in that building, except one, failed the gas test,” Metzger said. “We have spent countless hours trying to see if we can build a new building or make repairs to that building. We have not gotten information back on the decision.”
Discussions got heated between the two sides as the building’s pipes recently froze because of the lack of heat and the village would like to make sure the structure is sound before charting a course of action and investing more money into the building.
“Over the years, it seems like you guys don’t really care about Galbreath Hall,” Herman Stanley said. “I only do what I do because I like doing it.”
Council president Ron Garver explained the village is only trying to be cautious and responsible with village funds.
“That building has continued to deteriorate and we are responsible to the taxpayers to save money,” Garver said. “We have discussed this for years — what are we going to do with that building. Our main concern is the safety of that building.”
“This year the pipes have broken twice,” Herman Stanley said. “We explained to the committee that the most important building to us is Galbreath Hall. That’s where we store our equipment, that’s where we hold pee wee basketball, that’s where we operate out of. It may not seem like we use it much to you folks, but we need Galbreath Hall.”
Council member Cory Coburn pointed out that the village is trying to assess if the building is safe and what is the best use of funds.
“The first question is, is the building safe,“ Coburn said. “We have discussed if the village needs a new building instead of investing more money into Galbreath Hall.”
Stanley said the group has someone who would be willing to inspect the building for free for WJYAA. Garver pointed out that anything the WYJAA wants to do to the building must be brought to public service director Metzger first. Metzger was adamant that anyone who inspects Galbreath Hall must be a licensed structural engineer.
“I need to see a structural engineer and have them look at the building,” Metzger said. “I need to see what it costs and then bring it to council. I don’t have the money in the budget for this. I need to bring it to council.”
Council agreed that Metzger will need to schedule a structural engineer to fully inspect Galbreath Hall and then meet to decide how to proceed with repairs, improvements or other actions.
“We are not quite able to use Norwood Elementary gyms as we want,” Stanley said. “So the necessity of Galbreath Hall or a building to replace it is at the top of our needs list.”