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Park district exploring expansion of Buchanan Rec Center

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By Sandy Barnes

The Evergreen Park and Recreation District has hired a design firm to conduct a feasibility study for possible additions to Buchanan Recreation Center.

"We heard from a number of residents a fairly strong desire to expand Buchanan Recreation Center," Scott Robson, EPRD executive director, said during his presentation to board members at the April 22 meeting.

After sending out requests for proposals, EPRD staff chose Sink, Combs and Dethlefs of Denver for the study at a cost of $40,000. The design firm will focus on the expansion from the standpoint of whether it makes financial sense for the park district, Robson said.

“We felt like they were the strongest team,” he said. “It seemed like they’re willing to get in there.”

Key areas of focus for the study include additional gym space to accommodate a high school basketball and volleyball court and an indoor running track.

To create space for spinning, aerobics and other classes, the design team will look at the possibility of adding classrooms at Buchanan.

Adding two to four 25-meter lap lanes to the existing pool and replacing the existing children’s play structure in the pool area also will be incorporated into the study, along with an outdoor spray water feature next to the swimming pool in the rec center.

"We'll look at cost recovery for aquatics and fitness," Robson said.

The feasibility study will provide a marketing analysis of area competitors and services they are providing, he added.

A recent survey of EPRD residents indicated sufficient support for a feasibility study, said EPRD board member Kit Darrow.

"Now we need to find out if it's strong enough to proceed," she said.

Darrow also suggested that EPRD board members and staff monitor the work done by the design firm.

“Everyone is surprised to hear that Buchanan is seeing decreased revenues,” Darrow remarked. “I'm having a hard time explaining that.”

One of the reasons for decreased use of Buchanan is that some residents are going to other recreation centers down the hill, Robson said.

“Apex is a virtual Disneyland of a rec center,” Darrow said, referring to a facility in Arvada.

Expanding facilities and programming at Buchanan could generate additional usage and revenue at the rec center, said Robson. A prime purpose of the feasibility study is to determine if an expansion would be beneficial, he pointed out.

An increase in the park district mill levy might be needed to fund an expansion project at Buchanan, Robson said. However, the community survey showed support for a tax increase to provide additional services, he said. 

During discussion of the study, Darrow also asked if the design firm would analyze the parking at Buchanan and make recommendations.

"I would hate to see a goofy situation get goofier," she said.

“We know there are trail connection issues,” said Robson. “We will analyze accessory add-ons.”

Buchanan Rec Center currently features a climbing pinnacle, weight room, leisure pool with hot tub, dry sauna, water slide, children’s fountains, rental rooms and an outdoor patio. 

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.