Breckenridge unveils new indoor playground, part of rec center’s $17M transformation
Move over McDonald’s, because Summit County’s children now have another pretty cool place to play with the completion of a $17.2 million renovation at the Breckenridge Recreation Center.
Work to dramatically remake the rec center at 880 Airport Road in Breckenridge began in April 2017, and the list of additions is a lengthy one.
Now that the work is all but complete, town officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday to show off the facility and offered a day of free admission, guided tours, special fitness classes, a scavenger hunt and live music from the Summit High School Jazz Band.
During the day of activities, the center saw 1,057 guests, said Kevin Zygulski, the town’s assistant director of recreation. That’s more than double the number of visitors the rec center typically sees during the warmer springtime months, he added.
In the winter, however, visits can swell to 850-900 a day, showing just how valuable the community asset can be when the temperatures drop. In the same vein, before work began at the rec center, a community needs assessment identified an indoor playground as one thing that could really improve the landscape for the county’s youngest residents — and their parents.
Answering that call, the town has carved a 2,800-square-foot children’s wing out of an old weight room the first floor of the newly remodeled rec center, and one the most anticipated features within it has to be the new indoor, year-round children’s playground.
“That is a huge deal,” said Mayor Eric Mamula, whose children are now too old to enjoy it. However, he knows from experience how difficult living in the mountains can be on youngsters. “It is tough having small kids up here in the middle of winter. There’s not a whole lot to do, and there’s not a lot of places to take them until they can ski and enjoy the outdoors.”
The indoor playground features a jungle-gym style tower for children 4-12 years old, complete with slides, ropes, nets and all sorts of fun stuff to climb over, under and all around. Soft foam animals just in front of the tower are meant for the tikes 3 years old and younger.
With the addition, Breckenridge can now boast having one of only a few indoor playgrounds in Summit County, including the McDonald’s PlayPlace in Silverthorne, which opened last winter, and on a smaller scale, the children’s area inside the South Branch of the Summit County Library.
Also, the children’s wing at the Breckenridge Recreation Center has been moved behind the front desk, providing an added layer of safety for the children.
“I’m personally really excited that we did that,” Mamula noted.
Originally built in 1991, the rec center grew by approximately 11,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet, basically tripling the area dedicated to fitness and in the children’s area.
Another major piece of the high-dollar renovation was converting two-court indoor tennis courts into a new, two-story fitness space, unveiled in January when the first phase came to fruition.
But local tennis players shouldn’t be too disappointed with the loss because just outside the main facility is a new 17,500 square-foot stand-alone indoor Breckenridge Tennis Center. Also, resurfacing of the outdoor basketball and new hard, outdoor tennis courts on the north side of the building are expected the week of June 18.
With the space that had been devoted to tennis courts, the first level of the rec center was divided into an indoor turf gym, weight room, high-intensity fitness training area and group exercise space.
A mezzanine level now overlooks the turf gym while housing a new cardio fitness area, cycling studio and stretching area.
The project also expanded the functional fitness and stretching areas on the mezzanine, and a new west wall of windows offers breathtaking views of the mountains while capturing more natural light than ever.
Also, included in the project were the relocation and expansion of physical-therapy services at the center, updated multi-purpose rooms, four additional bathrooms and three changing rooms, and a new facility-wide stereo system.
There have been less visible upgrades too, like the new heating and cooling systems, which cost about $1.8 million.
“The Breckenridge Recreation Center has truly transformed over a year of extensive construction,” Mamula said. “We want to sincerely thank both our patrons and the staff for their patience during the project. It’s thrilling to finally see the completed project and to officially present it to the public.”
For more, go to BreckRecRenovation.com or call the Recreation Center at 970-453-1734.
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