Breckenridge Recreation Center looks at 6 proposals for 2016 expansion
Cost of recreation
The Breckenridge Recreation Center is due roughly $2.6 million in earmarked capital improvement funds come 2016. Before renovations begin, the rec center staff created six proposals ranging from nearly $5 million to less than $500,000.
$200,000 — Replace rec center lift with elevator
$3.5 million — Add 10,000 square feet of studio and office space
$2.8 million — New 17,500-square-foot covered tennis center
$4.5 million — Renovate existing outdoor tennis courts
$2-4 million — Swimming pool expansion
$4.7 million — Outdoor ice rink cover (demolish existing rink, add roof and team training rooms)
Source: Breckenridge Recreation.
Breck free admission day
What: A full day to test-drive the recreation center and group fitness classes for absolutely free
When: Thursday, May 7 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Breckenridge Recreation Center, 880 Airport Road in Breckenridge
Specials: Free day admission for all ages; free group fitness classes (times vary); free bounce castle admission for all ages (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.); free body fat composition testing with rec center trainers (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.); Spanish translation for summer camp registration (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
To learn more about the open house and renovations, or to find a complete recreation schedule, see http://www.breckenridgerecreation.com.
The Breckenridge Recreation Center is about to bulk up.
Over the past five months, recreation staff has held public meetings and open house forums to gather public feedback on a slew of potential projects, from sprawling expansions to minor equipment upgrades. The center has now whittled it down to six finalists, including $3.5 million worth of studio and office space and a $4.7 million renovation to the outdoor ice rink.
On April 14, director of recreation Mike Barney presented six preliminary options to the town council. They will be fresh on the council’s collective mind during its May 12 budget retreat, an annual mud-season break to fine-tune the next year’s budget before final approval in November.
“Council is now considering the enhancements and weighing them against each other,” Barney said. “It will be interesting to see what enhancements they decide to fund and at what level, if any. We believe these projects are certainly deserving.”
A recreation center expansion in one form or another has been on the budget since 2011, but any potential plans were put on hiatus in lieu of other projects.
In 2014, the council once again made recreation a top priority, earmarking roughly $2.625 million from the Capital Improvement Plan fund for renovations at the center, according to the town’s 2015 budget.
And it’s just the start of rec-friendly capital projects: The council also tentatively identified $9 million for a field house in 2019, a facility similar to the $6.4 million, 58,000-square-foot complex found in neighboring Edwards.
The proposed renovations are the first major rec center projects since a $400,000 locker room remodel in 2010. When paired with a recreation use study from 2008, the most recent round of public outreach again pinpointed two musts: more space and more programs.
“So many of these improvements hinge on other things potentially happening,” Barney said. “Unfortunately, the recreation center doesn’t have room to expand its footprint. We’re kind of challenged on how we can expand this building — we can’t quite punch out walls and just grow.”
ICE RINK FOR ALL
Built in 1991, the rec center has seen a major uptick in guest visits — and programming demands — over the past five years. Drop-in visits jumped from 176,500 in 2011 to nearly 181,500 in 2013, while participation in programs like child care and the summer race series went from 37,400 in 2011 to 43,550 in 2013.
With more users comes less room to breathe, and for a 25-year-old facility, simply adding new additions like LEGOs is off the table. The rec staff is thinking outside of the box for expansion proposals, Barney says, and despite a nearly $4.5 million difference between the highest and lowest proposals, he believes each one touches on community needs. It’s just a matter of identifying the broadest
“We’re trying to evaluate every project individually,” Barney said. “It depends on the segment of the community we’re talking to and who the stakeholders are, but we don’t see them as competing against each other. They’re all valid projects.”
Since winter, local youth sports clubs have banded together to become one of the most vocal stakeholder groups. Nearly 70 athletes and parents from Team Summit, Team Breckenridge, Summit Youth Hockey and several other teams attended the March 24 council meeting, where supporters like Jeff Westscott of Maverick Sports argued for ice rink renovations.
“Our kids deserve the best,” Westscott told the council at the meeting.
The ice rink wasn’t on the rec center’s radar until sports clubs brought it to the council. In its rough form, plans call for a complete demolition of the current facility, to be replaced by a new, larger facility with a rink cover and dedicated training rooms.
For local clubs, a $4.7 million ice rink renovation would make the facility — and Breckenridge as a whole — more appealing for visiting teams, particularly in wintertime. Neighboring ski clubs like Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club have indoor spaces, the supporters argue, while local clubs are forced to stage races and host dryland training at other facilities. If the weather gets nasty, training is occasionally canceled outright.
Two other projects promise to eat a major portion of the capital project funding. The first calls for roughly $3.5 million in new studio and office space, located on the northwest and northeast corners of the rec center — two of the few remaining areas for expansion.
Since the March 24 council meeting, a handful of rec center employees have urged the town council to consider this proposal, which calls for 10,000 square feet total and a second-floor addition above the current multi-purpose room. It’s currently the center’s only large multi-use space, and Barney says drop in basketball is often canceled to make room for other programs.
The second proposal is built around tennis. It includes a new, 17,500-square-foot tennis facility for $2.8 million and renovations on the existing courts for $4.5 million. The proposal totals roughly $7.3 million with both projects.
Again, space is a must. The new tennis facility would be outdoors with a roof, putting it on the same plane as a covered ice rink for events and other large activities throughout the year. The current facility, which shares a wall with the rec center, could be converted into studios, a new weight room, an indoor playground, a physical therapy office, or a range of other options.
The six recreation proposals are tentative until the council returns from its retreat and sets aside a concrete amount for capital improvements. If rec staff decides on a project above the current $2.625 mark, the remaining funds will come from the recreation budget and potentially the town’s general fund.
“A lot of what we’re talking about now are enhancements,” Barney says. “Do we have a critical need? I don’t think we do right now, but these enhancements can really bring us up to speed and set us up for the next 10 or 15 years.”
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