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Community Center Plans

By: Stan Gengler
Estes Valley Recreation and Park District

On Thursday evening last week (May 29), the Neenan Company presented to the public and to Board of the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District a conceptual plan for the District’s proposed new Community Center.

The Community Center, to be located at the site of the old elementary school, is the cornerstone to achieving the District’s vision of recreational opportunities for all members of the community. The District wants to meet the recreational needs of the entire community by expanding its offerings beyond the current sports-oriented activities.

The proposed Community Center is comprised of three components, a Recreation Center, an expanded Aquatic Center and a Nonprofit/Child Care Center.
Recreational Center: The Recreation Center will allow the District to enhance indoor active sports and provide activities for those not served by our current recreational programs. At the core of these non-sport areas are four classrooms that can accommodate programs and activities that span all age groups from toddlers to seniors.

Arts and Crafts: One classroom will be dedicated as an art room providing programs such as watercolor and oil painting, drawing, holiday arts and craft, stained glass, wood carving, ceramics and other general craft classes.
Fitness and Active Room: A second classroom will feature fitness and active classes. This room would be used for activities that include pre-school dance movement, yoga, senior movement, Tai Chi, mom/tot dance, youth and adult dance, hip-hop, martial arts, pilates, toning and strengthening classes, and many other fitness or active movement classes.

Music and General Classrooms: These two classrooms are multi-purpose in use. The rooms will have extra sound protection to accommodate quiet activities or musical functions. These rooms could be used for chorale and music practice, teen guitar, digital photography, science club, quilting, story time, creative writing, language classes, fly-tying, teen jam sessions, and an endless list of youth and adult continuing education programs. The Library has offered to partner with the District in developing continuing education programs using both local talent as well as experts from outside the community. These two rooms would also be available for community meeting space.

Full-Size Gym: This recreation center would also include a full-size gym that would allow the District to expand its offerings of indoor sports including volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer as well as large group exercise. The Youth Center and the Recreational District’s administrative offices will also be moved into this section of the Community Center.

Expanded Aquatic Center: The second component of the Community Center would be the expansion of the existing Aquatic Center. The current 14,000 square foot Aquatic Center, which has just undergone refurbishing under the recently passed school bond would remain in place. The proposed expansion would be a 10,000 square foot facility for families with children. This facility would include year-round slides, play features and shallow pool for very small children. There would also be family dressing rooms and a concession area. This addition would also include a warm water pool which can be used by children and the older population for therapy.

Nonprofit/Child Care Center The third component of the Community Center would be a child care and nonprofit center. Replacement of the old elementary school will eliminate space for two existing child care facilities. The Community Center would include child care space for nine infants, ten toddlers, twenty preschoolers, and thirty after-school children. This nonprofit section would provide office space for local nonprofits as well as general meeting space.

Neenan representatives discussed the reasons for tearing down the old elementary school versus renovating it. Neenan’s analysis included stairs and ramps that do not meet ADA compliance, poorly insulated walls, a gym that does not accommodate teen and adult activities, worn out heating and ventilation, and out-of-code plumbing including the lack of a sprinkler system. All these issues made renovation a more costly alternative to new construction.

The footprint of the Community Center would be smaller than the old elementary school. The old elementary school has 58,000 square feet while the proposed Community Center will have 27,000 square feet for the recreation component, 7,000 square feet for the child care/nonprofit portion plus 10,000 for the pool expansion, for a total of 44,000 square feet.

The preliminary costs including construction, design, permit fees and contingency funds is $13,840,000. The project would start upon approval of the bond by voters and would be completed in February 2010. In addition, the District is considering other projects, such as replacement of the worn out irrigation system at Lake Estes Golf Course, replacing restrooms around Lake Estes which are not ADA compliant, and other maintenance items. The preliminary cost for all these projects to a homeowner of a $300,000 home is approximately $8.50 per month. Senior citizens who qualify for the homestead exemption would pay less than that amount depending on the market value of their home.

The Recreation District will hold several community forums to answer questions on dates to be announced. Comments or questions can be addressed to Stan Gengler at 586-8191 or

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