12/10/07 — Space for city's new recreation center increasing

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Space for city's new recreation center increasing

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 10, 2007 2:06 PM

The city's new community building will be larger than proposed.

The Recreation Center Committee has met with architects Jeffrey Lee and Jennifer Attride from Pearce, Brinkley, Cease & Lee to further perfect details of the South Center Street facility's designs.

The plans should be completed by the "middle of spring -- end of April, early May," Mrs. Attride said.

And with the new designs came about 6,000 more square feet added to the center.

The building was 54,211 square foot previously, but will now come in at 60,365 square feet.

One of the reasons for adding the space is the addition of three classrooms and a playroom into the designs.

The committee had to decide whether the classroom and child care facilities should be on the first or second level of the center.

At the November meeting, members discussed having both on the first level, but after looking at the new design plans, they discussed options to have "program areas" on the upper level and keep child care on the lower level, making it easier for parents to drop off their children before exercising.

"Let's switch them and see what that looks like," Chairman Chuck Allen said.

"It's not as easy as just making a switch," Lee said.

Allen agreed and asked the architects to bring designs showing both alternatives to the next committee meeting, but also wanted to add more space to the four multi-purpose rooms that are in the designs.

"I don't want to be maxed out before we even get into it," he said. "That's not a good plan for our community."

The multi-purpose rooms will act as program areas where the center will have "scheduled activities," including classes for adults such as yoga and kickboxing as well as child-aged activities such as interactive video games.

John Richards, the YMCA's chief executive officer, brought the video game suggestion to the table.

"We really don't have a place for teens," he said.

And allowing the "Exergym" to function in one of the multi-purpose rooms would give teenagers something to do while, at the same time, getting them to exercise.

"It's like a Wii," Richards said. "This would take the place of a game room, and it would be better because it would get them moving."

Members of the committee agreed that it would be a great addition, and Allen said that it would be a suggestion that the committee would "definitely check out."

The architects also informed the committee that they met with pool specialists, and the pool area plans were in accordance with what they recommended.

The committee discussed having "soakers" -- water amusements -- in the pool area for younger children as well as the water purification systems, then asked that Lee and Mrs. Attride take their suggestions to the pool specialists for feedback.

Members spoke about security measures and concessions along with the option of having a fountain in the proposed memorial to Wayne County's fallen veterans.

Allen said other City Council members have expressed concern about the fountain, so he asked that the matter be taken to the council as a work session item.