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Grant gives Santo Center a boost

A federal gift of $360,000 to the city of Medford will help finish additional improvements for the Santo Community Center, which is in the middle of a significant expansion.

U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith will attend a ceremony today officially announcing the federal appropriation. The center is on the corner of West McAndrews Road and Columbus Avenue in northwest Medford.

The funding will assist the Medford Parks and Recreation Department in adding one classroom, remodeling a boiler room into office and meeting space and landscaping improvements that are part of the approved master plan for the site, said Brian Sjothun, Parks and Recreation director, in a press release.

The improvements are in addition to a $1.7 million expansion currently under way, which will add an 11,776-square-foot gymnasium along with a 493-square-foot lobby and covered walkway at the former Army Reserve Center. That project is funded by the park fee which is included on monthly utility bills to all Medford residents.

Those projects should be complete May 15, and the additional federally subsidized work should be completed by the end of the year.

With the latest appropriation, the city of Medford has received $747,415 in federal funding for improvements to the Santo Community Center since 2003. All the money received goes to fulfill the master plan that was completed with the help of the community and approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission along with the City Council in 2001. Hundreds of community recreation programs and meetings are held at the center. In addition, parks staff and West Medford Community Coalition members use the building for office space.

For more information call 774-2400 or visit parks@cityofmedford.org on the Web.

The frame of the new gymnasium takes shape at Santo Center. - Jim Craven