By Bethany Yocum Journal-Express
The Journal Express
---- — On Tuesday, a public meeting about potential renovations to the Knoxville Rec. Center was held. This was the second of two public input sessions that have been held about the potential Rec. Center improvements.
Project architect Thad Long and principal in charge Vitus Bering from SVPA Architects Inc. were present at the meeting to outline three potential Rec. Center improvement scopes and to answer any questions from the public.
After the first public input sessions, an online survey was conducted after speaking with Rec. Center staff to see which types of improvements were most important to Rec. Center users. Approximately 60 participants responded to the survey, and SVPA Architects formulated the three possible scopes of renovation according to what survey participants ranked as most important in terms of improvements.
The survey had participants judge the importance of particular improvements on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being most important.
Scope #1 presented at the meeting focuses largely on improvements to the weight area with expansion for fitness and cardio studios. Scope #1 would include a building addition on the south side of the Rec. Center, and would also include renovations to the locker rooms and mens shower area.
Paint, lighting, and ventilation would all be parts of the locker room improvements, and an ADA compliant family restroom/changing room would be a part of the renovation as well. The men’s shower area improvement would include increased privacy, which Long and Bering cite as a very common improvement being made to facilities similar to the Knoxville Rec. Center.
Long and Bering cite the building expansion as an advantage that would allow the new fitness studio room to be a flexible area that could be used for cardio activities, yoga, and a variety of other fitness purposes. The total estimated cost to carry out the plan in Scope #1 is $1,572,000. Scope #1 is the least costly of the three scopes, and Bering says although it would be the most disruptive to normal Rec. Center function during construction, it would be the best option for the least amount of money.
“We believe that it will provide the community with the biggest return,” Bering said.
The major focus of Scope #2 is a family-sized gym addition onto the current gym area, which would create a building addition on the east side of the current facility. This plan would also include a youth fitness activity space, and would also include an update to the current gymnasium’s floor and HVAC system.
An advantage to Scope #2 would be that the racquetball court would also be updated to include a possible spin studio or flexible fitness space. The total cost for Scope #2 is estimated at $2,005,150, with the most costly part of the improvement being the building addition for the gym.
Scope #3 focuses on an improvement of the pool area, resulting in a building addition on the west side of the facility. The current wading pool would be taken out, and a family pool would be created in addition to the current pool used for open swim. The family pool would be relatively shallow at about 3.6 feet deep, and it would also have a railing for ADA compliance. A recessed ADA compliant hot tub would be included in the improvements as well.
Bering said much of the improvements proposed in Scope #3 are based from a meeting they had with a consultant who viewed the current pool area and made suggestions on how the area could be improved. Scope #3 also includes the addition of an outdoor splash pad on the Rec. Center patio. The total estimation for the cost of carrying out Scope #3 is $2,900,030.
In addition to the three main scopes presented, Long and Bering mentioned a possible fourth scope that could be further developed if the community showed interest. The fourth scope could be the addition of an outdoor aquatic center, if the community decided to pursue such an option. Long and Bering estimate that an outdoor aquatic center of a size that would be typical for a community the size of Knoxville would be around $5-7 million.
In terms of carrying out the potential Rec. Center improvements, the City of Knoxville could decide to choose one of the three scopes, all of the scopes, or a combination of the scopes presented. Long and Bering say that the cost of carrying out a master plan including the three scopes presented would be $6.5 million.
As the feedback and plans have shown so far, Bering believes Scope #1 to be the most appropriate to the community’s wants and needs for Rec. Center improvements. Bering says he looks forward to more community feedback as Knoxville weighs the options for the renovation.