The city's 181,000-square foot recreation center at Rock Chalk Park now has a date you can circle on the calendar.
City officials are saying the eight-gym recreation center in northwest Lawrence will open no later than Sept. 2.
Recreation center to cost $800,000 to equip
From basketballs to bleachers, it is going to cost about $830,000 to equip the city's newest recreation center, according to new estimates from City Hall.
City officials have long said there would be some additional equipment costs not covered by the $22.5 million development agreement the city has with Bliss Sports to build the facility. But city officials hadn't ever provided an estimate on how much it may cost to equip the building. City Manager David Corliss said recently that he thinks the current estimate of $830,000 by the parks and recreation department is likely accurate.
Here's a look at some of the items and their cost:
• Security system: $74,215
• Bleachers: $38,900
• Cardio and weight room equipment: $125,000
• Batting cages: $17,000
• Balls and ball carts: $10,000
• Concession stand coolers and freezers: $30,000
• Trash cans: $8,000
"That's when our fall class schedule starts, so that really is our drop-dead date," said Ernie Shaw, the city's interim director of parks and recreation.
City officials have a construction contract with Lawrence-based Bliss Sports that calls for the center to be completed by July 15, but weather delays now have city officials pessimistic that the project will meet that deadline.
Shaw said he thinks an opening date for the center is still likely in August, but he said the Sept. 2 date is key because that is when the department will start relying heavily on the center to host everything from basketball leagues to fitness classes.
Shaw said the department is finalizing the list of classes and leagues that will be hosted at the center, which will be near the northeast corner of the Sixth Street and South Lawrence Trafficway interchange. Shaw said the list will be publicly released in the next couple of weeks, but he said the center will allow for a significant expansion of programs.
Shaw said the department plans to hire a program coordinator that will create new classes specifically for the over-50 population. In addition to the eight gyms and turf area, the center will have an indoor walking track that Shaw believes will be popular with the over-50 crowd.
Youth sports offerings also will expand significantly. Shaw said to look for new, indoor flag football leagues, additional Futsal leagues, increased youth basketball offerings, more gymnastics classes and a "full-fledged" youth volleyball program. Adult soccer in the indoor turf field also is a possibility.
"That field is going to be very busy, but we've had adult soccer teams tell us they would come in at 10 o'clock at night and play till midnight, if we'll let them," Shaw said.