Foster City teen center plans in motion

When Tiffany Hall was growing up in Foster City in the late ’80s, the “teen center” was a single room in the city’s Recreation Center where young people would gather to hang out.

But now, Hall — as a city recreation coordinator — is working with current teens to help design the city’s new 9,566-square-foot Teen Center at 670 Shell Blvd., complete with its own skate park.

“It’s not only a nice-looking building,” she said. “We’re going to be able to take everybody’s input and make a nice center.”

On Tuesday night, the Foster City Planning Commission held a study session to look at the Teen Center’s design. Project planner Sean Gallegos said the city hopes to have a completed report before the commission on July 19 for approval. Pending City Council approval at a later date, he said the plan is for requests for proposals to go out in November, with construction beginning the following February.

The permanent building will replace the current 5,000-square-foot portable building known as “The Vibe,” which hosts dances, concerts for local teen bands and other events under the supervision of city staff.

Even with responsible chaperones, Hall said the city has enjoyed steady attendance to such events and has been able to buck the stereotype of teen centers as geeky gathering places.

“I think we beat that stereotype because our staff is good and the kids like them. We’re like the cool older brothers and sisters,” she said. “Our staff are all young adults; they love working with kids.”

In addition to games, televisions and computers, the center will include a kitchen, study area and outdoor basketball courts. There is also space for dance classes and other social events.

Yet to be planned, however, is the skate park. Hall and members of the city’s youth advisory committee have been touring parks around Northern California, including Sacramento, Davis, San Mateo and Daly City. They skated in parks and talked to skaters to decide how best to use the limited space available.

“If you look at a typical skate park, 4,000 square feet is pretty small, but this will meet a certain need and be a lot better than what we have out there,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Miller.

Approximately $150,000 of the just more than $5 million budget for the center is set aside for the skate park, which will be handled as a side project to the rest of the teen center.

jgoldman@examiner.com


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