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The McKinleyville Community Services District is finalizing the design details of a teen and community center after residents said a safe space for teens to hang out is a high priority.

”We want it to be a fun place for teens to be after school,” the district's Recreation Supervisor Lesley Frisbee said. “It was the voice of local teens that finally decided a majority of the floor plan and exterior design of the center, and we hope they regard it as 'their' facility.”

The district is working with the Humboldt County Planning Department on the final design of the center, which will be attached to the existing McKinleyville Activity Center and is expected to open by the beginning of 2015.

”Our hope is that by utilizing the 7,000-square-foot gym in the existing center, along with amenities at the new center, which will include a commercial kitchen, a soundproof music studio, a café area and a game area, that we will be able to draw in large-scale events,” the district's Parks and Recreation Director Jason Sehon said.

Grants, Mad River Rotary Club funds and private donations will all go toward the center's $1.7 million construction cost.

Eric Wohle, an architect and partner at LDA Partners, the Stockton firm responsible for the center's design, said he noticed a definite sense of community when he came to McKinleyville to talk to residents about the center.

”For me, doing these kinds of facilities is really refreshing and fun,” Wohle said. “It's exciting to see everyone want to pull together and see a new center happen. Even though we don't live in McKinleyville, we know the project will make a huge impact on the community and potentially future generations to come.”

Jillian Singh can be reached at 441-0509 or jsingh@times-standard.com.