In the first of a series of talks, the Windsor Town Board on Monday ironed out some of the most fine-tuned details to date for the potential $14.9 Community Recreation Center expansion, tentatively slated to go to a community-wide vote in November 2014.
The meeting was the first of four that will sort out the nuts and bolts about what exactly the rec center could include and how it might be financed. Monday’s discussion about the components got as detailed as examining everything from the benefits of extra gymnasium space to how air could be circulated throughout the building and even how many sets of windows can or should be present in the pool areas on the western edge of the building.
Board members peppered Dave Hammel from Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture with numerous questions the community has raised including why the proposed lap pool is three lanes (each 25 yards long) as opposed to six lanes and why there is no diving board component.
Hammel chalked the reasoning up to one main explanation: space.
“We really have very limited areas that we can expand to,” he said. The building is essentially packed onto a small piece of property that has been developed around over the years. Plus, an existing canal limits how much expansion can happen to the north and west, yet parking lot requirement reduce available acreage to the south and east.
Additionally, the building was constructed on land with a very shallow water table that will make pool construction tricky — when drained the water table could actually force materials upward, potentially damaging the tile, concrete or other infrastructure, Hammel said. That means special consideration about water pump needs to be made when planning how to do routine maintenance on a drained pool.
And to add even just one more lane — valued at about $300,000 each — would mean completely altering the lazy river and other components, potentially rendering them less efficient, Hammel said.
But even with that, the main scenario discussed Monday included an adult spot with hot water, a lazy river, a zero-depth beach equipped with water features and depths that go up to 3-and-a-half feet, a three-lane lap pool and a water slide.
Beyond the aquatics components, Scenario 1 also includes a nearly 3,700-square-foot weight-lifting and equipment room upstairs, as well as a nine-lap-per-mile track above gyms. The addition of an auxiliary gym, staff explained, would help accommodate the recent surges in some fitness classes, like Zumba. It could also free up some of the other fitness rooms and allow for more recreation programming.
On the topic of longevity, Hammel said his company, which has designed recreation centers around the country including a very similar one in Erie, strives to construct “50-year” buildings that, with the required maintenance, can last even longer. With careful planning about what types of components the town wants, he said a specific plan can really take place moving forward.
Monday’s meeting largely steered clear of financing talks, though Mayor John Vazquez raised questions about how a phasing-type of implementation could work. The estimated $14.9 million price tag for the proposed expansion includes roughly $10 million for actual construction, $2.5 million for planning and other development, and a $1.3 million contingency that includes room for inflation, hikes in construction costs or other unforeseen factors.
The town will again dive into details on Oct. 7 during a work session exploring operations and rate structures. Financing and potential resources will be the topic for Oct. 21, and the board will wrap up formal rec center discussions Nov. 4 before deciding how to proceed. Officials continue to urge the public to weigh in by contacting town board members directly and exploring resources at www.windsorgov.com/crcexpand.