Police request 24/7 security for Richmond community center undergoing restoration

Booker T. Anderson Community Center restoration faces more delay
The Booker T. Anderson Community Center has been closed since October 2020 due to a fire. (Photo taken by Kathy Chouteau in 2022)

The Richmond Police Department is requesting that City Council approve round-the-clock security for the Booker T. Anderson Community Center, which has been closed since being damaged by a fire on Oct. 28, 2020.

The need for 24/7 security arose after thieves recently broke into the unoccupied community center at 960 S 47th St. just as construction to repair the building was set to kick off, according to police.  Copper wiring and pipes were stolen, causing the contractor to significantly increase their original estimate, police said.

The RPD wants to amend its contract with Allied Universal Services to add a team of unarmed security guards at the community center 24 hours per day, seven days per week, as part of a contract that runs through the end of this year.

The community center suffered extensive fire damage “as the result of homeless activities in the park” on Oct. 28, 2020, according to the city. The damage was on the west side of the building affecting the library, multi-purpose room and graphic arts room. About 3,800 square feet of the building sustained fire, water and smoke damage, and an additional 2,200 square feet suffered significant smoke damage.

In November 2020, Mark Albertson Architects performed a preliminary evaluation of the community center to develop plans for final abatement demolition of all fire materials. Last year, the city approved a $293,000 contract with 911 Restoration for fire abatement demolition services. Then on March 1 this year, City Council approved a nearly $2.6 million construction contract with Angotti & Reilly to restore the facility. Insurance will pay for all but $500,000 of the repairs, according to city staff.

The Booker T. Anderson Community Center Restoration Project will require “replacement of structural beams and decking, roof coverings, exterior and interior wall finishes, floor and ceiling finishes, interior and exterior doors and frames, interior and exterior windows, casework and wood trim, roof-mounted HVAC units, ductwork, plumbing fixtures, as well as electrical fixtures, conduit and wire,” the city said.

“In performing the reconstruction work, one restroom core and one kitchen will be completely renovated to meet accessibility requirements of the 2019 California Building Code,” the city added. “An accessible path of travel throughout the community center as well as interior accessibility signage shall also be incorporated into the scope of work as required by the 2019 California Building Code.”

The community center was constructed in 1971-1972 and has received no major renovations since its initial constructions.