Discussion of options will be part of capital improvement planning
First opened in 2000, the center was part of a $4.5 million voter-approved building project to serve the current and future recreation needs of the city’s seniors and other age groups, as well as provide a space for community events and cultural and arts programming.
Nearly 20 years later, the 26,425 square-foot facility is used by more than 300,000 visitors a year, with Parks and Recreation programming contributing to 82 percent of the building use. Growth and diversity in the city has led to greater demand of the space, explained Director of Parks and Recreation Diane Evan.
Additionally, the building is showing wear and is ready for “significant investments” through system upgrades, including the heating and cooling systems and roof. A better connection to the outdoors was also identified as a desire for the facility.
Feedback from stakeholder meetings also identified challenges with accessibility, lack of rooms and space, elevator size and location, and challenges navigating the building. No dedicated space to accommodate art classes and fitness space were also noted as part of a feasibility report.
“It seems appropriate we look at what the Plymouth Creek Center could look like in the future,” Evans said.
One of the goals of the expansion would be to move recreational activities out of the ballroom so that the space can be used for special events and rentals during the week, whereas now, it is only available on weekends, Evans explained.
The concept presented was a 46,400 square-foot expansion that would include two fitness/dance studios, an indoor playground, a gymnasium, a smaller children’s multi-purpose gymnasium, as well as art spaces on the lower level adjacent to the terrace. The concept also included expanded lobbies, a courtyard in the center of the building, as well as a viewing deck off the ballroom.
Councilmember Ned Carroll testified on the need for additional gym space in Plymouth, adding how difficult it can be to find open gym space for youth basketball.
Councilmember Judy Johnson said she wanted to see a concept that would include expanding the lower level as part of the south addition. She explained it would be a better use of land to add on to the lower level now, rather than only the main level, so as to have options for the future.
“I’d rather make the investment now,” Johnson said, noting the space could then be developed later on as costs allow. She also recommended adding a suspended walking track as part of the gymnasium plan to accommodate the indoor walkers.
The proposed renovation and expansion is estimated to cost $19 million, with an additional $4.7 million in soft costs for such things as design fees and furniture.
Additionally, the annual operational costs are estimated to increase by $287,000 with $180,000 in new rental revenue.
The council decided to revisit the idea as part of the annual capital improvement plan discussion, which is typically in the fall. Evans also noted community input on the design would also be sought before a final plan is brought forward to the council.
Contact Kristen Miller at [email protected]