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Groundbreaking now expected early next year; project manager being hired
(Posted Aug. 8, 2017)

The project manager staff report is HERE

Hawkins’ scope of work proposal is HERE

If all goes as planned, ground should be broken for the community recreation center early next year, the City Council was told Monday night during a discussion about hiring a project manager.
Initial approval was given for hiring Ted Hawkins, a former city project manager.
Community Services Director Steve Hardesty told the council that work toward the project on Peart Road between Cottonwood Lane and Kortsen Road “is moving forward today to a point where staff feels it’s necessary to bring an outside consultant that can be very beneficial to protect the needs and the resources of the city.
“Just to give you a timeline,” he continued, “in late May schematic design was completed and accepted. Work in June and July has been focused on the design development phase, trying to refine the design of the recreation center. On Sept. 21, we’ll have a study session with the City Council, in October we’ll meet with Planning and Zoning and in early 2018 we plan a groundbreaking.”
Hawkins was project manager with the Public Works Department from September 2007 to March 2015. He is owner of Gravity Research, the company being chosen for the job at a cost of $100,000 for this fiscal year and option for renewal for a second year if the city wishes.
“Ted brings several key skills to the city,” Hardesty told the council. “He has vast knowledge of this project. He also understands the processes and requirements of the city and he has extensive experience both with the (center) architect and the construction management company.”
Hawkins has handled several major projects for the city. A list he sent to CG News shows:
• Public Works North Operations Center addition and tenant improvements.
• Animal Care and Adoption Facility new kennel building.
• Len Colla Recreation Center addition and remodel.
• Fire Station 504 design and construction.
• Public Safety Facility design and construction.
• Dave White Municipal Golf Course clubhouse remodel.
• City Court building.
• Downtown streets project.
• Landfill scale house.
• Main library remodel.
• Police and fire dispatch center remodel.
• Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center kitchen addition.
• Many smaller projects as fill-in.
Hawkins’ work while a city employee was recognized by council members Dick Powell, Lisa Fitzgibbons, Mary Kortsen, Ralph Varela and Matt Herman.
“I think all of us are pretty familiar with what Ted has done with the city,” Powell said, “especially in being in charge of construction and supervision and that type of thing. And I feel way more comfortable with Ted doing that than somebody from the company that’s building the building providing that same function. I think that he served us well on so many buildings, saved us money, that I would be personally ticked for him to be able to be selected.”
Councilwoman Fitzgibbons agreed, saying, “In my time on council Ted has managed several projects and has done a great job.”
She wanted to know if the cost of Hawkins’ contract was included in the projected costs of building the center.
Hardesty responded that, “It’s very common to bring in a third-party representative to look over the needs of the city. Staff can do a lot, but bringing in an outside consultant can protect the needs of the city and save resources over time.
“The budget for the pre construction phase is a little bit over $1.6 million of the project dollars. The guaranteed maximum price has not been developed yet. Part of Ted’s job is to help us refine that and make sure we bring to you the best GMP that we can, so his fees would be rolled into what’s left in the project.”
City Manager Larry Rains said that after Hawkins retired from the city, “we have not filled that position of project manager with anybody that would do what I would consider to be facility or construction type projects.
“One of the primary reasons that we haven’t is simply because we’re on the last of the projects that we planned several years ago. And really that was part of the driver as we went out and started looking for someone to fill this role, someone who had a little bit of knowledge of this project. But primarily we were looking for Ted for his experience with the project, because of the price. Ultimately, we could can get him for a better price than we could by going out on the market, as well.
“And lastly, we would not look to fill that city position with somebody to ultimately manage the project. Really, the (Hawkins) scope covers the term of this project and then it ends at that particular time.”
As Councilman Varela sees it, “It manages our risks, which is wonderful. And Ted is task-oriented and he’s to the point, so, great opportunity for us.”
Councilman Herman said, “Ted has worked for our city a lot, no problem with Ted. I know the value of a project manger, without a doubt, versus hiring someone for the city position versus hiring a consultant.”
The value in this case, Rains said, is that hiring someone for the city position would be about $120,000 yearly versus the $100,000 for the short term Hawkins contract.
“Second,” he continued, “when you look at the market for project managers you’re looking at roughly two to three percent of the project cost, so with two to three percent of $16 million to $17 million you’re looking at a quarter of a million to $400,000.”
The vote for initial approval was unanimous. Ordinances of more than $50,000 required two hearings, or readings, before the council. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.

Community center moving ahead, council told during study session

(Posted April 5, 2017)

Work toward a community recreation center continues to progress, the City Council was told during Monday night’s study session to present the latest building and grounds schematics.

It was also announced that the city is working with the Gilbert family which is donating the land west of Peart Road south of Kortsen Road. The family had initially set a deadline of this December or the land offer could be withdrawn.

Mayor Craig McFarland asked if the time limit has been dealt with.

James Burke, interim Community Services Department director, responded, “Well, not in a fashion that would make our attorney stop and say yes, but we have had the conversation with the property owners. They know the situation of where we’re at in the process, how much it’s going to take, and they’ve expressed an interest of working with us to accommodate.”

McFarland said the issue needs to be resolved before planning gets much further along.

“I don’t want to spend a bunch of money, of the city’s money, if in fact they are going to renege on something,” he said.

City Manager Larry Rains responded that, “One of the reasons why we’ve staged getting to this point with the schematic design and getting their approval is to ensure that even though the mayor and council has already given us consent to start moving forward from an expenditure and a contract perspective on the design work, that ultimately we’re putting ourself in a better position to ensure that we’ve got appropriate timing and whatnot.

“As Mr. Burke has pointed out, we in fact have had some very preliminary dialogue, there’s a willingness, we will be working on a document that they ultimately can execute, as well.”

McFarland repeated, “Before we get too far.”

Yes, Rains responded.

Turning to the latest schematics, Burke said they are the result of several meetings of the design committee to discuss the building and its design.

“They came in and we did a couple of exercises where we dealt with the site itself and the arrangement of the building, the size of the building, kind of cut and pasted and played with blocks, if you will, and looked at different ways to approach it,” he said. “The designers went away and analyzed that, came back with proposals and went away and came back.

“And we did that in partnership with the staff and the Boys & Girls Clubs, Matt Lemberg (clubs director) was with us on all those exercises, we did it with the City Manager’s Office and with Community Services involvement looking at that.

“And then we spent quite a bit of time working with the Gilbert family and showing them all those same exercises and getting their acceptance and their approval of where we’re at today. They have signed an acknowledgement that we’re in compliance with the special warranty deed.

“We still fully intend for the family to be involved as we take this through final design as we’ll be bringing it to the council for discussion and review. And they’re very excited to see us try to get to the end game and getting the building under construction and being built.”

It was decided that the main building would be angled toward Peart Road.

“In looking at the site and thinking about we might use it,” Burke said, “the committee and the design team came up with the conclusion that we should put the building to the far northeast of the site and try to have a presence on Peart Road because that is the major street, not try to dominate it and deal with it like maybe a commercial building would where you’d have the front door out on Peart.

“We really thought about dropping it into a park site and having you see the edge and see the landscaping, experience the building as you go by it. And that’s why there’s some articulation to the shape and the building’s kind of turned sideways to the road so that you won’t see just a big wall with a big building, because the gymnasium will have a big wall. You’ll see different shapes and different sizes and then experience the building in different ways as you approach it.”

There will be a driveway through the center of the property for maintenance and delivery, Burke said, but the main drive will be to the south.

“That’s the drive that has potential,” he continued, “because to the south is a private development parcel that will be developed sometime in the future. We have the potential there to share that driveway with that site, so that could be a very prominent entrance. But initially it will just be our own driveway, come to the parking lot. You can see the parking lot is pushed also to the north of the site.

“You can just see in the lower left hand side of the slide a single-family resident lot, but there are others that are platted on each side of that, so there will be additional residential houses there.  

“We sited this building as far away from that as we could. That was really in deference to the family, they wanted to make sure that we didn’t encroach on residential uses. If we did a two-story building, that the building wouldn’t be imposing right on the residents, be basically in their back yard. So you can see from the lower sketch that we’re 570 feet or more away from that single-family residence.”

The initial landscape plan has lawn around the building and a separate lawn where the aquatics complex will be in the future when money becomes available. To the southwest of that would be a small landscaped area that could be used for festivals or other activities.

The green Y-shaped area at the left of the illustration would be open space.

Councilman Matt Herman asked if that open space could ever be used for special events.

Burke responded that, “That’s a great question and one we have kicked around and I believe the answer is yes. Now, there are some conditions on that; I don’t believe we can put a building there. That also taps into the greater community trail plan that you’ve approved and as that subdivision next door gets built people can connect to it. That little grass area just south of the parking lot might actually expand into that green space.”

Turning to the layout of the building, Burke said there would be two entrances, one for the Boys & Girls Clubs at the northwest side and one for the general public near the future aquatics area.

Pointing to the building layout schematic, Burke said “The yellow area is the area that’s dedicated to Boys & Girls Clubs uses. The light pink area is the area that’s shared uses between both the city and the Boys & Girls Clubs and then the red area is for the city public recreation programs.

“You can see the entrances there and how they share that big gray area. It’s a shared lobby, it’s a generous lobby and it’ll be a two story lobby, because the second part of this diagram on the left hand side is the upper floor.

“If someone’s coming for an activity in the multipurpose room, which is these two large rooms on the direct south side that spill out onto the aquatics complex area, a lawn initially, you can assemble in the lobby and have grand space where you can do your meeting, greeting and ticketing or whatever might be going on and then go into that multipurpose room. 

“The same if you’re going to a bigger activity in the gymnasium or the youth and teen center that’s right there in the center of the lobby, which we thought really focused our energies on teen and teen activities right in the center of the building, right in the center of the lobby.

“The kids care area is right to the left of the main front door. That also has an outdoor space that’s walled and dedicated and shaded so it’s completely confined and then there’s shared classroom that you can see that are also on that left wall.

“The second floor has the walking track around the gymnasium and the exercise area where the equipment will be. The exercise area is about 3,500 square feet. We put it upstairs along with the multipurpose exercise room, which will be the dance room or dedicated program space for activities. That’s where you’ll go for all your organized activities with the city for recreation activities as part of your membership.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked if 3,500 square feet is adequate space.

Yes, Burke replied, adding, “I think it’s a good compromise size, a good functioning size for this community and the size of this facility.

“Certainly, you could build it bigger and then you could spend a lot of money on equipment and always doing replacement of equipment. I’m not sure that we’ve done the analysis that you’ll make that much more money doing it that way. And you could make a smaller but if you get to small then it’s really not going to be a functional size. We think it’s a good size and the location of it up there (second floor) kind of set by itself works pretty well in our assumptions.”

It was also decided to put all offices on the second floor, Burke said.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs staff and the city staff sharing common spaces so the work spaces and the copiers and the break room will all be in one area and then the various cubicles and small offices,” he continued. “Put them all on the second floor where they’d be kind of up and a step away from the community and the activity on the first floor where there’s really the meeting and greeting of the customer base and the interaction that’s really important to how this building is going to function, will happen on that first floor.

“Then there’s open space looking off that exercise room area or the staff space down into the atrium below  so you can still hear and monitor and see what’s going on.”

Councilwoman Donna McBride asked if the cost factor between general memberships and the Boys & Girls Clubs membership had been considered.

Burke responded, “Absolutely. And we don’t have a definitive answer yet. It’s something we’re looking at and still between the two parties figure out exactly how that will go. We do see, especially in that teen area, that some partnership might go both ways. I don’t think we have a final resolution on all the nuances of that.

City Manager Rains added that, “We’ve worked very closely with the Boys & Girls Clubs to get us to this point. And to just build on the response to Councilwoman McBride, we have had some very preliminary dialogue with Mr. Lemberg about beginning to establish some meetings regarding the memorizing the agreement component that really is going to define the financial pieces and what they’re going to look like. And we’ll certainly be bringing that back to the mayor and council in advance of us getting to the point where construction is taking place.”

Next steps

As Burke explained to the council, “The next steps are to continue and finalize the schematic design, and there’s a whole series of submittals that are defined in the contract that once we get general approval on this they will submit some details on how the walls and the roofs and the materials start to come together. It won’t be all the design decisions but they start to get into the details of how we’re going to build this building.

“We’ll do a series of design workshops that will involve going to all the city departments and making sure we do the technical reviews that have to happen, especially with the Building Department and the site plan review and all those. We’ll have the 30, 60 and 100 percent construction drawing preparations to get us to where we’re actually at a permitted set of drawings, have all the city approvals and permits that are required in that process.

“The goal is to get a guaranteed maximum price from the builder, who is part of this team and will doing the analysis along the way on cost estimating.

“We think right now, our best guess, is that’s going to take six to eight months. Construction could be as long as 14 to 18 months.

“On all of these schedules we’re going to work really hard to compress and shave and get down as short as we can possibly get them in the process, because we know the community’s waiting and we really want to see this get completed.”

Community recreation center update

(Posted Sept. 23, 2016)

One thing to remember from Monday night’s City Council study session on progress of a community recreation center is that although the desires of teens took center stage, the operation will be for everyone.

“While I appreciate the teen input,” Mayor Bob Jackson said as the discussions wound on, “we all need to remember that it is a multigenerational facility. You’ve got the teens, but it’s got to be looked at for little kids and mid sized kids, young adults and the older folks.

“I know you guys know that and it’s probably obvious, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we’re not building a teen center, we’re building a community center for all ages.”


Interim Community Services Department Director James Burke said the teen surveys were taken because the last time the center was before the City Council the department was asked to get additional community outreach specifically focusing on teens.

Recreation Superintendent Matt Jankowski said 399 surveys were returned, with 952 responses, “so we got very good feedback.”

After the surveys were received, he continued, department staff and the architect met with students from the three high schools, showing them preliminary design work and asking it it represented what they wanted in the facility, to be built on the west side of Peart Road just south of Kortsen Road.

“The idea behind this was to show that based on what these teens are saying they’d like to see, the programming they’d like to have there, we can definitely do many things within one specific part of the facility if we build it properly,” he said.

“One of the things we heard a lot from teens was they wanted to have an area where they could study, do group projects, so classrooms were very important to them, as well as the teen lounge and the game room aspect, a portion of the facility, essentially, that is just for them, for their use as specific to them.

“We wouldn’t really program it for senior activities or for very small youth activities or things like that. This would be a portion of the facility that based on their feedback and what we’d love to do design wise that would be specific to them.”


“This is an adjacency diagram so that you can see here this gives you an idea of how the flow of the building could look based on what it is that we’d like to put in there,” Jankowski said. “You’ve got the gymnasium, multipurpose space, classrooms, there’s a Boys and Girls Clubs lobby entrance.

“We are in discussion currently and have had ongoing discussions with the Boys and Clubs to be a part of this facility. How we would make that work and the fact that they would have a different entrance, these are all conversations that we’re currently having.

“As you can see, off the main lobby you see the teen area. The teen component is separate from other portions of the facility so that they feel that ownership.”


“I think the teen lounge, the cafe, that’s what they want, basically kind of a place to hang out that’s their own,” Councilman Matt Herman said.

“You can go to take your teen agers and drop them off there and the adults can go to their programs and the kids can do something else, true multigenerational center, and I think you’re on the right track with what we’re doing here.”


These are estimates only of square feet in each area, pending final design, Jankowski said.


“An indoor track is something that has been very attractive and something that a lot of people have discussed. I think that is something we’d want to have in the building,” Jankowski said.

Councilman Herman asked how far along planning for the gym and walking track have gone.

“This step is the programming step,” Burke said. “If you approve this tonight we’d like to authorize the architect to move into the schematic design phase. They’ll begin bringing these diagrams and square footage of what inside the building and they’ll be looking at things like exact square footage, looking at materials, constructibility and then be matching that to the budget, too.”


“The multipurpose room is one of these rooms that has dividers so that you can make it bigger or smaller, just depends on what type of programming you’re looking at,” Jankowski said.

“The square footage is not something that is guaranteed at this point, but the amenity and having that in the building is the important part right now.”


“Wet and dry is kind of like a nonporous floor, essentially that you cannot exactly hose down but you can definitely clean,” Jankowski said.


“We’re still discussing whether or not we actually do a full cafe or if we will be doing more like a vending option or something like that,” Jankowski said. “But it is something that is very popular with the teens, a way to get food and drinks while they’re at the facility. If we provide that to them, that’s another reason that they will stay there.

“Based on the feedback, the vending option of food is definitely something that people are wanting in the building, so being able to do it as efficiently as possible is important.”

Councilman Dick Powell noted that the diagram shows an occupancy of five. “Is that people working there or is that how many it would seat?” he asked.

Jankowski responded that, “I would imagine that would probably be seating. When you’re talking about 700 square feet, that wouldn’t give you a whole lot of room in the back, that would probably take up most of the room back behind the counter. So if you had tables and chairs set up, I’m guessing that that’s what that would be referring to.”

Powell also mentioned that the photographs at the bottom of the diagram show much more space than for five tables.

“These are just generics (pictures) from the architect,” Jankowski answered. “We can definitely go back and meet with them and get it firmed up a little bit.”

Powell asked, “With the food, can they take that back to the teen rooms or whatever with them, or is that something you’d want to eat in the cafe?”

Planning hasn’t gone that far, Jankowski answered.

“As we get a little bit further, seeing what all we have in there,” he said, “we’ll start looking at wanting probably to keep the food or drink in one area so that you don’t ruin areas.”

Mayor Bob Jackson said, “I love the idea of having a food vendor in there, because I do think that’s important for all ages, not just the teens. It would be kind of cool if we could figure out with the architect a way to put the food vending adjacent to that teen area. The policy decision is ours over whether we want to have food back there or not, but maybe you could do it in such a way that we’ll let you take food back in your area, just don’t bring it out in the rest of the facility.

“It would keep it clean back there if you have some adjacency so you don’t have to walk through the whole facility to get in and out of there.”

Jackson said he is aware there have been discussions about a third-party cafe vendor for the center.

“I know we do that over at the library and at the airport. Not as successful as we’d like it to be, but I think the community center will be much more active and much more likely to be able to generate enough business that somebody could support themselves off of that as opposed to us trying to do it ourselves.”

Jackson also asked if the cafe would have a prep kitchen, “so if somebody wants to do an event, you can’t prepare the meal there but you can certainly put it together there.”

Jankowski answered, “That 700 square footage is essentially a craft kitchen where you could do classes, where you could kind of cater a little bit. It could be a cafe and we’ve got the kitchen you could use for programming.”

Other factors


When the surveys were being done, Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked, “did anyone talk about transportation, were there issues on how they’re going to get there, or are we coordinating something with the schools?”

That has been brought up multiple times during discussions and presentations, Jankowski answered.

“We’ll be working with the school district, we’ll make sure that we get transportation to that facility,” he continued. “Absolutely, one of the big concerns was that there are teenagers from 13 to 16 and can’t get there (not old enough to drive a car). So transportation is always something that is going to be necessary to make this facility operate and make sure that we’ve got teens there, they have a way to get there.”

Councilman Powell asked if that transportation would be specific to the Boys and Girls Clubs, bringing its members from the elementary schools.

Jankowski replied, “I know that the Boys and Girls Clubs currently has transportation to their facility. We also get transportation to Len Colla Recreation Center, as well, so it’s just a conversation we have to have, saying, OK, there’s some buses going to Boys and Girls Club, coming to parks facility.”

Mayor Jackson said, “I know you’ve talked to the Boys and Girls Clubs to potentially be within that center, and they do have a van, and while I think they’ve got a deal with the elementary school district where the elementary school district will deliver all of their kids to a location, I wonder if they could work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and maybe have their van just at the three high schools, figure out a way that maybe that would be part of the rent that they pay to be in the building, help transport some of the kids.”

More on Boys and Girls Clubs

“The Boys and Girls Clubs was an important concept that the council wanted us to pursue,” City Manager Larry Rains said. 

“And at least from a staff’s perspective, we had anticipated that there would be a good opportunity for us to share space, so we have met with them, something similar to focus group meetings, to talk a little bit about what their expectations were regarding entryways, regarding what they wanted to offer, if they wanted to grow their programs, continue to provide their existing services levels, so on and so forth.

“We met with them again last week with an executive team to talk a little bit more substance. We’re now in discussions trying to better understand numbers that they’re looking at, space that they’re looking at, programming that they may be looking at.”

Rains added that, “I know it’s been several years ago, but their original proposal talked about the potential of them taking over some of the programming and alleviating that from the city’s perspective, as well, and the cost saving to us.

“So the dialogue continued, I thought it was a very fruitful dialogue and ultimately what I envision the next steps to be is really better understanding from their perspective the space that they’re going to need just for themselves.

“The second would be space that we would need, where perhaps we would have some kind of programming in the morning, they would have something in the afternoon.

“One of their biggest challenges, as everyone knows, is the space that they need to provide their summer services. During the school year, it’s very easy for them to set up at a specific campus. I know that they’ve got two now, along with this site, but during the summer those campuses close.

“That’s the ongoing dialogue, so with that basis in mind I envision that we’ll be finalizing that here in the next couple of weeks with them and really then get into the major work on the schematic design.

“One of the things that we dealing with is landing on specific square footage. A 56,000-square-feet building, based on the programming need and the outreach, I can tell you that our $16 million budget would not accommodate something that size.

“So what we’re looking at now is trying to pare that back, continue to build that flexible space, one that will allow us to achieve the amenities that our community is expecting.”

Hours of operation

Councilman Karl Montoya asked if there have been discussions on hours of operation and how programming would flow.

Jankowski responded, “I don’t believe we discussed specific hours, I know we’ve thrown around from 92 to 96 hours a week. Nailing down those times that’s really something that we need to do.

“But the other part of it, those are the hours open to the public.

“We’d like have the ability to have some of the after hour things, rentals or lock-ins or special events and things like that where can we provide even more programming and specific activities that are going to be something a little bit outside the usual.”

Office space

Councilman Powell asked how many square feet of office space would be in the building and where it would be located.

Jankowski answered, “We don’t know where that would be, we haven’t done anything design wise.  Kind of ball parking it. If we’re talking about office space not only for us but for the Boys and Girls Clubs having some administrative space, as well, we’re looking at somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 square feet for office space.”

Patio area

“The patio space, I’m thinking a multi-use place,” Councilman Herman said. “Most of the year we can use a lot of patio space and it’s not as expensive as indoor space. A multipurpose area where the Boys and Girls Clubs could use it, people could rent it out and have parties. Nine months out of the year it would be a great place to have stuff. Is that going to be included in this plan?”

Jankowski said there have been discussions on patio space, “because it’s exactly like you’re talking about, possible doing rentals and things like that. That would be something that is definitely desirable.

“Right now, everything that we focused on is going to be inside of the building when it comes to all the programming and things like that.”


Councilman Ralph Varela asked if the final building design will be flexible enough to meet future needs, given that needs and public desires change over time.

Burke answered that the idea has been to design the larger rooms for flexibility, using moveable walls and other solutions.

“It’s going to have some ultimate limitations, but we do want to have this last a very long time, for generations,” he said.

Fitness area

Councilman Powell was heavily critical of the initial plans for a fitness area of 5,000 square feet, saying the size of it would compete with private fitness companies in the city.

“I brought up in discussions that we could have it but not have it so big it was going to compete,” he said, adding that, “I think you guys did a great job at 3,500 square feet, because that gives certainly enough room for it and it’s not going to put anybody out of business. It’s going to be noncompetitive, really, with the others here in town. I compliment you on that.”

Incorporate community into building design

“I think the other thing that’s going to be very important,” Councilman Varela said, “is there’s buildings and then there’s buildings, in terms of architectural design that are really focused on specificity and diversity, capture the history of Casa Grande and the area and so forth.

“I hope that as it is designed that it takes that, so it becomes much more inviting. You see some that are very inviting and some that are not as inviting. And so, I think we have an excellent opportunity to really make this a architectural design that is really captures all of Casa Grande.”

Rains replied, “One of the reasons that Architekton (the architects) scored so high on the team that reviewed and selected the construction design-build team is the fantastic job that they’ve done over the years in really building space that meets a community’s heritage and diversity. They’ve done an excellent job in other locations, really kind of pulling that into the facilities that they do. And we’ve obviously had good success with a couple of the other facilities that they’ve put for us here in Casa Grande (City Court, Public Safety Facility) so I believe they’re going to be up to that job.”

As it now stands, Varela said, I really like how you put the quality of life piece into it. You’ve got the exercise, you’ve got the yoga, but it’s more than just the exercise and stuff, it’s really addressing quality of life issues.”

Land use

Councilman Powell said he had heard someone say that the complex would be eight acres.

Given the possibility that more outdoor activities could be added, Powell asked, “Is that a net after you take out the streets and the parking and that kind of stuff, or is that just something I heard that somebody was misguided about?”

Rains replied that, “We have not gotten into any type of details on what would be the actual acreage that would be developed.

“What I can tell you is that they (Gilbert family) dedicated 10 acres of ground to us. We are now just starting to have considerable discussion regarding the amount of improvements, the acres that will be improved, as part of this footprint.

“I’m not sure where the eight acres would come from, but it’s not coming from staff.”

Major Jackson said the building itself would cover an acre and a half.

Rains continued that, “We’ve had some very preliminary discussions about what we’re going to do on the what I would consider to be the outdoor programming. Beside the patio space that we’ve talked about, one of these amenities that continues to rise to top is splash pads. And as the council is aware, with us deferring the aquatics component of Phase II, our thoughts and hopes are that we are able to build a splash pad, potentially adjacent to the patio space. 

“We’re in discussion regarding budget and there was some space that was originally outlined in the first drawings. I think it would be staff’s desire to try to build some of that turf space, if possible. We have not really gotten any dialogue. I expect that that level of discussion will take place when we begin to look at the onsite and offsite improvements with the budget that’s been allocated.

“There are some restrictions as part of that dedication. We have had some discussions about maybe opening that dialogue up again. Personally, I believe that as you begin to do some level of schematic and some level of design it makes it easier to show pictures to everybody. I think that’s been one of the hurdles that we’ve dealt with, is that there’s a lot of perceptions and thoughts that when you’re dedicating a piece of land without any really knowledge of what things are going to look like, you want to try to get maximum protection.

“At this point, our thoughts are to getting some level of design work so that we can show pictures and better describe how those restrictions impact this building and what we might be able to do to overcome that and potentially either have those amended or modified or maybe even removed.

“But all of that is in the works at this point.”

These financial sheets were presented during a community center update earlier this year. They are subject to change.


Councilman Powell said, “As you know, you’ve kind of got a tightrope to walk because you’ve got a (financial) proforma to develop to see how much money is going to be able to available to be generated and how you’re going to pay for it and do contracts with the Boys and Girls Club or the teen center or whoever is involved, so probably several months before you can kind of put those together, at least in a rough form.”

Rains responded that, “Our plan as a staff at this point is to continue to update the proforma that was introduced to the mayor and council during the period that you consider to be preconstruction services agreement.

“And while there will be some potential amendments to the expenses, because these all were only projections at that point, much of that data was established based on our existing programming and the new programming.

“But to your point, the inclusion of the Boys and Girls Clubs has impacted that right now. It’s going to be important.

“I will tell you from my perspective we’re still moving forward with the thought that we’re going to have to sell approximately 850 memberships for the break even analysis. That may change, obviously, as we update that proforma, but at this point in time I don’t see a significant change in what was originally produced, even based on the additional outreach we’ve done that would make drastic or dramatic changes to the proforma that we introduced as part of that original process.”

Powell added that, “One of the things is to figure out when you sell memberships what that gives a person to be able to do, as compared to the Boys and Girls Clubs or some of the other things, say, that might be free.”

Rains responded that, “That dialogue is occurring as we speak and certainly a point well taken.

“I know one of the big topics that we discussed early on with some of the users, what we heard, and I know the mayor and I even heard it when we went and spoke to the Youth Commission, is that there’s an expectation that a lot of of this youth space is going to be free. 

“And so there’s going to have to be a considerable amount of thought given to how we structure those memberships and what there is to receive as part of that package.”

Next step

Mayor Jackson asked if the next step is to bring back essentially a construction contract with a guaranteed maximum price.

Rains responded that, “Our vision has been a community place and I think we’re going to be able to achieve that. We’d be looking at somewhere between 45,000-square-feet to 50,000-square-feet facility when we’re all said and done, something that would fit within that $16 million budget parameters, and yet still building a quality facility.”

Still being worked on with designers is improvements to Peart Road at the center and other work on the property.

After this briefing to the council, Rains continued, “We envision moving forward with what I would consider to be the first phase of that schematic design here very quickly.

“And at that point in time, we’ll be able to come back to the mayor and council through either updates in a special meeting, just for additional information, to let you know what we’ve landed on from the square footage perspective, let you know a little bit of kind of what the building’s going to look like, how we’re going to actually coexist with the various individuals and whatnot.

“I would say we’re probably five to seven months out before we come back with a guaranteed maximum price.

“At that point in time what we would be coming back for is approval for the construction team to commence construction. And obviously, we’re working around that $16 million budget. I’m setting the expectation now it’s probably close to that, give or take, but really from that point we would begin construction, likely 12 months.”

City Council approves issuing $16 million in bonds for community center

(Posted May 16, 2016)

The bonds resolution is HERE

Bonds 20-year repayment chart is HERE

Issuing $16 million in bonds for construction of a community recreation center was authorized by the Casa Grande City Council during Monday night’s meeting.

The issuance date will be early in June, the council was told.

Issuing the bonds does not guarantee that a center will be built. It is to have money available if the council approves the final building plans, now in the process of being developed.

During the April meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Community Services Director Bill Schwind said that possibly by the middle of this month the contractor for the proposed center would be meeting with city officials to put forth a design schedule for the project.

“We’ll hopefully have a schedule out and ready to go when it comes to the projected timeline that Haydon (the contractor) and Architekton (the architects) will be using to get us to the end road, which will get us back to council with a decision on whether or not to move forward  with building it,” he said.

“In looking at some documentation recently from Haydon and Architekton, they were thinking about a nine-month planning process. We’re hoping for maybe a five-month design process, because this isn’t the first building they’ve ever built.

“And then you’ve got a 12- to 18-month construction period. So, a couple of years away for building completion.”

The $16 million in bonds will be the last issue from the $47 million approved by the voters in November 2016.

So far, the Public Safety Facility, Len Colla Center renovation, library improvements and some golf course work have been completed.

At the time of the 2006 bond election, city officials said the recreation center would be the last project to be built.

The bond resolution approved Monday night also allows refinancing of some existing city bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates.

Design schedule could be ready by middle of May, advisory board told

(Posted April 6, 2016)

By the middle of May, the contractor for the proposed Casa Grande community recreation center should be meeting with city officials to put forth a design schedule for the project, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was told Wednesday night.

As that progresses, Community Services Director Bill Schwind said, “we’ll be scheduling meetings with potentially user groups as well as staff to talk about square footage, things they’d like to see in this program. A lot of the outreach has been done, but now is the time really to focus on what we can do. I think from our staff’s perspective it is the multiuse factor of how we can make this building as usable as possible. 

“That really is the key to it all, because what we think are fun and exciting programs today can change in 15 minutes, so we really have to be proactive as to how we design this building and build it.

“So, that’s where we’re at. And by the time I think we meet again next month we’ll be a lot closer and hopefully have a schedule out and ready to go when it comes to the projected timeline that Haydon (the contractor) and Architekton (the architects) will be using to get us to the end road, which will get us back to council with a decision on whether or not to move forward  with building it.”

Board member Garrett Powell asked when, given the best case scenario, ground could be broken for the center.

Schwind responded, “If Mayor Jackson had his way, and he’s kind of given me an elbow once in awhile and kind of said ‘if possible,’ it would be nice to break ground while he was still there. So that would kind of be a goal.”

Bob Jackson is serving his last term as mayor, with the city general election in November.

“In looking at some documentation recently from Haydon and Architekton,” Schwind said, “they were thinking about a nine-month planning process, and that would not get us to the mayor’s deadline. So we’re hoping for maybe a five-month design process, because this isn’t the first building they’ve ever built.

“So I think we’re hoping, as far as that goes, and then you’ve got a 12- to 18-month construction period. So, a couple of years away.”

Schwind said he has not spoken with any Maricopa city officials in awhile about what they’ve experienced as far as changes since the fairly new facility was opened.

Several factors have to be taken into consideration for the Casa Grande facility, he said, especially maintenance.

At the Maricopa center, he continued, “It’s the flooring. It gets a lot of use, especially on their pool deck. They used a colored deck and paint out there and with the amount of foot traffic that they get, it just really doesn’t hold up well.

“So those are the things, if you see facilities and whatnot, kind of to pay attention to because there are all different kinds of flooring inside a municipal building. For instance, you’ve got tile, you’ve got polished concrete, carpet and those kinds of things.

“Everything that I know about taking care of buildings is from the maintenance side. If you can kind of just make sure you’ve got people on board that know what they’re doing as far as taking care of buildings, plumbing and flooring, your building will look new for a long, long time.”

Final approval for community rec center planning; Powell again votes no

(Posted March 21, 2016)

Final approval was given Monday night for a $1,557,430 contract for design and preconstruction services for the proposed community recreation center.

The approval is only for the design and preconstruction work, not actual construction.

On the City Council vote, Mary Kortsen, Karl Montoya, Matt Herman, Ralph Varela and Mayor Bob Jackson were in favor. Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons was absent, excused.

The lone no vote, as was the case in the initial approval during a previous council meeting, was from Councilman Dick Powell.

Powell said he still has concerns about the size of a proposed fitness area in the center and the number of workout machines.

That alone is not enough to vote no, he said, but asked if further details could be brought out as the process continues.

The main reason for the no vote, Powell said, is that he believes a fitness center would be in direct competition with commercial ones in the city.

The projection to break even financially with the entire center is 880 members, he said.

Given that, Powell continued, “it sounds like we definitely are going in competition with the area ones when we ask are we spending this much money to be sure we get 880? We don’t have one right now, so we’re going to have to take those from somebody.

“And I think we’re going to hear before too long other small businesses closing up as a result of that.

“So that would be part of my no vote.”

The other council members made no comments.

Start of planning for community rec center approved; Powell votes against

(Posted March 7, 2016)

The letter from Haydon, including what will be done and the costs, is HERE. It also includes a letter from Joe Salvatore, the project architect.

Approval of a million-dollar-plus contract to begin design and other services for the proposed community recreation center was approval Monday night by the City Council.

The vote was 6-1, with Councilman Dick Powell in opposition.

The contract is for those design and preconstruction items, not for the actual construction of the building, which would be located on 10 acres donated by the Gilbert family on the west side of Peart Road between Cottonwood Lane and Kortsen Road.

When that work is completed, it has to come back before the City Council for approval before further action can be taken.

As presented to the council Monday night, the agenda item reads:

“Consider an ordinance accepting the proposal for professional services from Haydon Building Corporation to provide design and pre-construction services for the community recreation center project; authorizing expenditure of public funds in an amount not to exceed $1,557,430; and authorizing the execution of a contract.”

Powell said he was voting no for several reasons.

“I’m concerned about the Boys and Girls Club having an arrangement there, the competition with the private sector I feel is illegal, selling the community short is one of my biggest aggrievements,” he continued.

Powell has said before that he feels having a fitness area in the center would harm other such businesses in the city.

“We need to be on at least 50 acres of land when we do this so that we can build a lot of the outdoor amenities that people want and have places to build more building, because on that spot we’re on you can’t build more building,” he said.

Powell said he also does not trust the financial projections performa on income versus operating costs.

(Scroll down to next story for the presentation, including financials)

“The bottom line is, when you’re on council it’s thankless job,” Powell said.

“I know probably everybody in this audience is pretty much wanting this. I want it, too, but I want to see it done right. I don’t want to see us sell our community short. I believe we’re doing that, and so I vote no.”

Special City Council session Monday will consider rec center plans contract

(Posted March 3, 2016)

The presentation, including membership breakdown and fees, is HERE

The financial sheets are HERE

The City Council meets in special session Monday to consider a contract for design plans for the proposed community recreation center.

It is not a contract for construction of the project, on property donated by the Gilbert family along Peart Road between Cottonwood Lane and Kortsen Road.

The agenda lists it as:

“Consider an Ordinance Accepting the Proposal for Professional Services from Haydon Building Corporation to Provide Design and Pre-construction Services for the Community Recreation Center Project; Authorizing Expenditure of Public Funds in an Amount Not to Exceed $1,557,430.00; and Authorizing the Execution of a Contract.”

During the open to the public session, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd., the council will also hear a presentation from Community Services Director Bill Schwind.

During Wednesday night’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, Schwind gave a brief preview of what he expects to happen during Monday night’s special session.

“It’s basically a two-phase meeting,” he told the board. “There’ll be a presentation that I’ll be presenting relative to where we are currently, with several assumptions.

“We’re assuming that the site of the facility will remain the donated piece of property from the Gilbert family on Peart Road.

“We are working off an assumed membership model that consists of generating money through annual, monthly and drop-in user fees, based on a percentage of youth, family, adults, seniors. That’s all worked out into a performa.”

His department has also calculated savings if the parks and recreation staff is moved from west of City Hall to the new center, Schwind said.

“The electrical and utility charges that we’re currently paying to operate that office, if that goes away, we move our staff into the new facility we’ve got a calculated fee as to what the city’s currently allocating,” he continued. “If we move that into the operational costs of the building it lowers the amount of money we need to really raise to help pay for the operational costs of that building.”

Schwind said a financial performa has been worked out showing that the number of center memberships needed to break even would be about 880.

“Those are split between various percentages,” he continued, “between youth memberships or teen memberships, family memberships, adult memberships and seniors.”

Schwind was asked if Councilman Dick Powell’s suggestion that Grande Sports World, which is far behind on its payments to the city, was considered as a center site.

“The staff recommendation in the operational performa is to utilize the Gilbert site, the property that was donated to us,” he replied. 

“We did some analysis on two other sites besides the Gilbert site. 

“We looked at Carr McNatt Park and we also looked at just knocking the buildings down that we’re at now and rebuilding on that site.

“We had independent consultants do that, that wasn’t really staff-oriented. We didn’t want to influence them at all.

“They looked at infrastructure, they looked at parking, they looked at the size of the facility and they had six pages worth of criteria that they looked at.

“And in scoring those, their recommendation came back as the Gilbert site.”

Schwind said main problem found with McNatt Park was that, “there’d be a lot of displacement if you were to put a big building and more parking in and around Carr McNatt. All the facilities that get used there currently you’d have to find another home for.”

He said the present Parks and Recreation building site was rejected because “it really was a little bit limited in space and size and parking.

“So the Gilbert property really presented itself as probably the better site of the three.”

Schwind said Grande Sports World wasn’t considered as a relocation site.

“That kind of came after the fact that we did the research on the other sites,” he said.

“So that decision is amongst council at this point. We’ll have to see what they have to say Monday night if it’s (GSW) discussed.

“Really, the ball ultimately is in the City Council’s court as to what direction they want to go.

“We can make a sound case for our performa. It’s based on memberships, it’s based on hitting marks. If we fall short of our mark, obviously it’s going to require some form of assistance from the General Fund. 

“We’re taking a pretty conservative approach as to putting those numbers together. We’re not really asking for or anticipating a whole lot, considering that we’ve got over half of the operational costs of that building somewhat covered by the General Fund currently. By moving in, really to make that next mark balance is really not that an exorbitant amount of money.

“I think we’re offering them the best conservative approach to making this thing work and be successful.

“At that point, it becomes a political decision to move forward or not.”

Powell statements on recreation center, Grande Sports World/Performance Institute

(Posted Feb. 12, 2016)

City Councilman Dick Powell posted these statements today following innuendoes, rumors, conspiracy theories and general inaccuracies on social media about the proposed recreation center and a suggestion that it could be at Grande Sports World, just east of Francisco Grande, which is also the subject of controversy because its payments to the city are not being made as agreed:

I want to address and attempt to enlighten residents regarding some of the issues raised regarding the recreation center:

• The original bond issue gave the City Council permission to build a recreation center, when, where and if they decided it appropriate 

• Please put aside the recreation center conspiracy suspicions, they do not exist nor will they.

• The original lease agreement with the Casa Grande Performance Institute was based on the presence of the United Football League which was supposed to produce enough revenue to pay the annual bond payments for the complex plus debt service. The league was an utter failure! The lessee was to make payments from gross revenue but without the UFL, revenues were negatively affected. 

• The city has been making the lease/bond payments with city funds because the Performance Institute only produces about 11 percent of the required bond payments.

• The project is not a public/private partnership or joint venture, because article 13.9 specifically prohibits that and declares the relationship is landlord/tenant or licensor/licensee. 

• The city has, in effect, been paying out public funds to the tune of $5.7 million through 2015 for a private sector business and allocates an additional $500,000 per year out of the recreation tax.

• I am the one who has advocated the Grande site for the recreation center, and only me

• The agreement stipulates that the Grande must pay a total of $7 million by mid-2020 or forfeit one single building, the Tower building only, and from that point forward, they would not be responsible to collateralize or commit any specific payment amount toward the $2 million per year average over the second 10 years. 

• Casa Grande’s debt obligation is: The 20-year C.G. Performance Center + Debt Service — $ 31.7 million; The 20-year total from the recreation tax — $10 million; public safety retirement deficit $35.7; for a total of $77.4 million and if we spend $25 Million, including debt service on our recreation center – the combined debt is $102 million!

• If we were able to agree to let the Grande keep their hotel and the city receive back the 58,000-square-feet building, the eight performance fields on 50 acres (that we will pay for anyway) it would be wonderful if we were able to incorporate the Performance Center into an asset used by the city.

• I feel we are really short changing our community to settle for 10 acres (for the proposed recreation center) in a residential cul-de-sac that prohibits field lights after dark and has no room for expansion. We’ve been told to not expect anything like Maricopa’s Community Center but a smaller one like Apache Junction’s. This is small town thinking folks!

DISCLAIMER: All the above represents Dick Powell’s opinion only and not City Council or the city of Casa Grande in any way.

The community recreation center survey responses
Explanations of what might or might not be in the building


(Posted Feb. 5, 2016)

The presentation to the City Council, with data and illustrations, is HERE.

A longer, more comprehensive document, from which the presentation to the council was taken, is HERE.

(NOTE: All of this is still in the conceptual stage. No decisions have been made, no contracts have been approved and discussions will continue.)

The announcement of results from survey of what residents would like to see in the proposed community recreation center has pleased some and disappointed others.

The top vote getter out of 6,414 survey responses was swimming pool, coming in at 575 votes.

That’s not going to happen until perhaps later phases of the center, mostly because of the estimated $4 million added cost. 

Other community requests, though, have been incorporated into the conceptual first phase of a center.

Joe Salvatore, project manager of Architekton, told the City Council during a Feb. 1 study session that all requests were considered and then evaluated by what could be included in a 50,000- to 55,000-square-foot building and parking with a budget of $16 million, fitting it onto 10 acres of donated land on the west side of Peart Road between Cottonwood Lane and Kortsen Road.

That broke down to a gymnasium, multipurpose rooms, game rooms, fitness rooms, running track, aerobics/dance studio, climbing walls, child care, café, amphitheater, teen rooms, classrooms and locker rooms.

Some of the other requests that didn’t make that cut could still be fitted in by limiting hours at some of the main rooms and allowing the other activities, Salvatore said.

“We're talking about the timing of the programs for the facility,” he continued. “If we're smart and we're good designers — I think we are — we will design each of the spaces so that they can have multiple uses, depending on the time of the day. We can have programs that are scheduled from, you know, 3 to 6 or whatever part of the day and then that program vacates out. The space is flexible to allow for other programs to move into that and occupy it.

“The multipurpose space, I think this is going to be the real workhorse of the facility.”

Salvatore said he believe the center should be targeting family visits.

“There were discussions at the last community meeting that really hit and I think it should be the direction that we move forward for the community facility,” he said.

“A family wants to come together, a family wants to come to the facility so they all can be together and work and play and learn and do the things at this facility as a family.”

Many of the other requests could be incorporated as a multiuse basis, others might have to wait until later phases, still others would not be considered, Salvatore told the council.

Explaining the cutoff and what still could or could not be accomodated

The quotes below are from Salvatore.

• FIELD HOUSE: Probably be about $750,000 to build. “Initially, we believe that's probably not a wise investment of dollars.”

• RACQUETBALL COURTS: “Racquetball is a sport that comes and goes. It's one of those where it gets very popular and all of sudden it dies off and you have a very expensive space built for a very single purpose. I don't recommend we build racquetball courts at this point, because it's just too singular of a use.”


“That's why we try to do the multiple use type phases. We believe we can fit that into the multipurpose rooms or one of the specialized rooms, like the fitness rooms.”

• ARCADE AND LASER TAG: "We believe that could probably fit into that pretty large multipurpose room that we're providing, on a temporary basis, that could be taken up and taken down if laser tag becomes something that everybody wants.”

• TECH ROOM/COMPUTER LAB: “We believe we can fit that into the activities space. We believe we probably could build a music type studio or for kids to work on computers in that space.”

• HANGOUT LOUNGE: “I think that's something we can do in the lobby, where it's nicely supervised.”

• INCUBATOR SPACE: “That could take place in the classrooms, but not specifically dedicate that space.”

• BOWLING: “Again, one of those things that's too specific to consider dedicating space to.”

• SENIOR ACTIVITIES/EXERCISE: “We believe we can fit those into the spaces that we are including.”

• GYMNASTICS STUDIO/TRAMPOLINE: “Again, one of those phases that we can include in the multipurpose type spaces.”

• SKATING RINK: “Is not going to happen.”

• MUSIC ROOM: “We can definitely get that into the activities space.”

• BATTING CAGES: “Maybe batting cages can occur outdoors, but indoors we may be able to fit those into the gymnasium on temporary, timely basis.”

Explaining the phases

Initial phase, quotes from Salvatore

"We took a swipe at laying out the site in an appropriate way for the footprint of the building that we're talking about, for some fields and then a pad for future pool. Phase one is where we provide the parking, the building, a pad for the aquatics and a field of grass, eventually that's where the field house could occur."

Second phase, quotes from Salvatore

"Phase two would be the first component of the aquatics. And this is where eventually, if there's funding available, we could build a competition type pool, which is eight-lane, and it would be high school competition lanes in one direction and metric in the other direction. This is where we would introduce the locker rooms and the pool equipment space for that pool."

Third phase, quotes from Salvatore

"The third phase would be the recreation pool. The recreation pool would be a lazy river, a splash pad, the water slides, the volleyball/basketball, a bunch of different things to be very creative with that recreation pool to provide a bunch of different activities for everybody. We positioned it on the plan this way because we wanted to have that relationship with the multipurpose room so that kids could have parties in the multipurpose room, go outside and go to the splash pad, back and forth. They could have some nice birthday parties at that facility."

Conceptual initial floor plan, quotes from Salvatore

"This is just a quick stab at laying out that program into a footprint. I've got to tell you, we've done a lot of recreation facilities over the years and this is actually laying out to be one of the finest layouts we've seen. 

"What we're positioning here in the center is the control zone, this is a reception desk, kind of that circular element in the center. That's a very critical component in a recreation center, because that's your control point for supervising all the activities that occur. And this is one of the most efficient. 

"Because of the way the property has that angle, we're able to bend around that so that focal point and the circulation desk and then watch what's going on inside the cardio area, the fitness area, the lobby and the cafe type area, plus the rock climbing wall, which is to the south. 

"The gym has got the two full NCAA basketball courts in it, with the running track suspended around it. We positioned the men's and women's and the family lockers/restroom facility where it can serve for the future aquatics. And then that group exercise room, which is that multipurpose type studio. We would put a flooring that wouldn't be a wood floor, it would be a rubberized flooring, which is actually all the rage these days for these facilities, which is impervious to ice cream and things like that, clean it up very easily.

"The workhorse is that multipurpose room, which is on the lower left hand, which will be dividable, which opens up to outdoor patios so you can have parties and programs in there, and it also would be served by the catering station next to it. 

"If, indeed, this ever needed to be expanded, we believe we can build a mezzanine level to do other things over the strength training and the cardio area, because we have the stairs and the elevator that would initially be serving the running track."

Explaining what the inside features could look like, quotes from Salvatore
    (Illustrations from Architekton)

"The gymnasium, in addition to having the two basketball courts, could be an event space for 500 people. We do that often. It's a simple matter of providing a drop down screen and a projector and you have basically a pretty great full functioning multiuse type of events space. Even have City Council sessions in there, if you'd like."

"This is about 5,000 square feet. This is that multipurpose type space which is divisible. You can get some revenue from those, as well. If we set it up with a really nice patio and outdoor type of spaces, it bleeds out and becomes even a much bigger space."

"Another workhorse. The activity room is one of those things you really have to pay a lot of attention to. In this case, you have 1,600 square feet, which is pretty good size. But this gets loaded up with the technologies, with the games, the big screen TVs, the ability to produce music, soundproofed space for music. I heard from quite a few kids that they'd like to have a space where they can go and record. Today with your iPhones and everything you're able to record music and videos and things like that. It just gives them a little mixing space and a place where they can play music to support their videos. Again, this is one of those spaces we have to do right in terms of setting up the technologies and the ability to change in the future."

"This is a smaller fitness area. This is where I'm targeting that family that wants to basically go, drop the kids off, go work out. Not like a full fledged, big giant workout area with all the equipment, but have a good set of equipment there so that the mother, the father, the older teens can go and do some workouts. If we set it up right, it can be also adjustable so that if programs come in, programs can go out, you can rent the equipment as opposed to buying it so it doesn't get dated. Nowadays, all the equipments are now wi-fi, they're not hard-wired, which is really good because we don't have to run cables and data cables out to each of these pieces of equipment. This is a much smaller type of a space than what we would typically do, but it is enough space for family members to go and work out while the other family are doing other things."

"I'm not recommending a wood floor in this, I'm recommending a (elastic type) of floor (as in the gymnasium) so this can be used for a variety of different functions. It needs to be set up for technology so it can meet different functions, but the floor needs to have the proper balance for dance. That also allows for spin, zumba, yoga and all the different functions, but if we set it up nice, if we set up really well with nice outdoor lighting coming it could be a very pleasant space that could be used for a variety of different functions as opposed to just those functions."

"We have pictured here the ones that we did. Maricopa is the one on the left and I think ASU is the one on the right. The track itself is a very, very popular space and it got a lot of votes. The way we do it is by suspending it over gymnasium space. A gymnasium space has a certain dimension anyway so if we take advantage of that space that's being used by the gym, the runoff space for the basketball courts, and suspend the running track over that, it really lowers the cost of building that actual track. Twelve laps creates one mile for our typical over-the-gym type of a running track."

"This was a very high vote getter. The climbing walls these days are automatic. You don't need to have someone there spotting a climber. The kids can do them. Of course, the way we position it is in full view of the administration or the check-in desk so that you can see what's going on, but you don't need to have someone spotting the person climbing up and down. They have a rubberized floor around the perimeter."

"This is indoor and outdoor. You have to have the outdoor function. Child watch is a critical element. It was spoken about at the community meetings, so we have that program in there."

"Bathrooms and showers are set aside. Families always have to have their own separate locker facilities. That's the way we have this set up, men and women on either side and family down the center. The back door opens up to the pool when that pool eventually gets built. That's the reason why you have the showers in there. Typically, showers are not really required in gymnasiums anymore because people just don't like to go take showers there, they just go home. But, if you do have a pool you have to have a shower."

"For a multipurpose room to function properly, we need to be able to provide food through a catering service. In this case, what we tried to do is make it a little bit more by having it being a demo kitchen so that you can have cooking classes. We really believe cooking classes are an up and rising type of program in most community facilities, so that healthy food, healthy eating is part of the whole workout lifestyle. It's typically done with catering in mind, not full-fledged cooking."

"We provide pretty nice space in there, mostly cubicles, some private offices. What we try to do is position that adjacent to the gymnasium so that those windows from the offices for the directors they can see everything that's going on inside the gymnasium." 

"Lobbies are the front door, the element that as you walk in and go, wow, this is a great place. That's what we want this to be. In this case, there's a small cafe component to this. With the internet, wi-fi, everything, make it a more active and lively type of a space. The socialization aspect of the community facilities is pretty darned important, so that's what we see the lobby as being. You're in a pretty good environment."

"You've got to have those. A family restroom in there, as well."

Possible future outdoor elements, main quotes from Salvatore

"We're kind of showing an ideal layout of the competition pool, which is the upper part of the diagram. The pool equipment room is the blue element to the right of the competition pool. And then the kind of amoebic looking thing is the recreation pool, where you have splash pads, water slide, lazy river, a bunch of different programs. We'll sit and program all that with everybody to develop a specific program for the city's needs. That's very expensive to build and very expensive to operate, so we kind of have those a future phase. You currently have a pool facility (at McNatt Park). I think that once that phases out, this will be phased in."

Answering a question from Mayor Bob Jackson about cost, Salvatore said, "To build it alone would probably be about $4 million. The pool complex that we did at Copper Sky (Maricopa) was about $4 million. And that had a similar programs, including the splash pads."

The pool would probably be freshwater, although Councilwoman Mary Kortsen had another suggestion.

“I'd take a saltwater pool any day,” she said. “Have you ever done a saltwater pool?”

Salvatore responded that, “We have done one saltwater pool, but we're also doing pools now which uses salt for the chlorine generation.

“The saltwater pool are great, except for the fact that the equipment corrodes quicker than the regular chlorinated type pools. The replacing of the equipment is something that has to be considered.”

Councilman Matt Herman said he would like the first phase to at least include a splash pad.

“We've been talking about these for years,” continued. “I think that would be good in the first phase, because we could bring a water element into the rec center at a much lower cost. That would expand our usage over the year, people that come in the summer would give them something to do there.”

"A field house is just a big shelter over the top of a field. Again, a future phase if the need presents itself or becomes very apparent. We've done it a few locations. We're currently doing one at Luke Air Force Base. It's not cheap, but it's definitely not the same cost of building a building."

Answering a question from Councilman Karl Montoya about what the cost would be, Salvatore said, "That would probably be about $750,000 to build that. It's literally a pre-engineered building structure. We'd want a sheathe, we'd want to put a skin on it that is complementary to whatever we build for the center, so it pumps it up a little bit. You can get a cheap one for close to $600,000, but about $750,000 to make it fit in well with the community facility.

"Initially, we believe that's probably not a wise investment of dollars."

Comments from the City Council

At the end of Salvatore’s explanations of multiuse of rooms, Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said “when I look at the floor plan you have the meeting event space and activity room. To me, it seems like there's not as many areas to do the programming. Maybe you can give me a scenario of the different activities, how many can be going on at the same time.”

Salvatore responded that, “What we need to do is start getting into the actual programs of the individual spaces and break those down to the different functions and activity that would occur in there.

“We have a whole bunch of individual programming for each individual space that we have to do in order to say, OK, what kind of programs are we thinking about and then set those up so that that room or that space is more finitely designed for all of those different activities.”

Herman also said he would like the center to have an area dedicated to teen use, rather than fit such activities into other areas of the building. 

“I think it's important because of what I learned from all the people in the community is that teens need their own area to go to, so I'd like a dedicated teen area.”

A community center is also important for economic development, Herman said.

"When we meet with these big developers and big companies that want to move families into this town they always ask what's the recreation opportunities like," he continued. "It really is a big thing, even before property taxes, before sewer rates, stuff like that, the schools — what is there for families to do in this town. So I think that's an important piece we can't overlook."

Councilman Dick Powell said he feels that more attention to what teens want is needed.

"One of the biggest secrets is what teens want," he said, "and we never know that. 

"But Tiana Jenkins brought us that information (from a survey she did of students) and I don't see enough of it incorporated. Can you show her some of this and get her reaction to it? They weren't interested at all in fitness, but they were interested in a lot of other things that dealt with arts, crafts, dance, those type of things because they're very important to young people.

"There seemed to be kind of a theme that we were trying to aim this more at families and younger people instead of just guys that want to go down there and work out. 

"So is it possible we could run that by her and have her input on it? She did all that work. And that's from the kids. We got a secret, we found out what they want. I don't think we've included enough of it."

Salvatore said he has Jenkins' email and "I'm looking forward to that."

There have been comments that the proposed location is not a good one. 

Fitzgibbons asked if that was mentioned during community meetings or surveys, adding that she did not see that as part of the presentation to the council.

“That came up a lot,” Salvatore replied. 

Everybody loved the location. There were questions about whether it was large enough, but everybody seemed to think the location was really good.”

Mayor Bob Jackson asked if the location question was broken down as like the location, don’t like it or what would be a better location.

Salvatore responded that, “I can't say that we asked do you like this location. It was asked at almost every event where is it going to be located and we told them exactly where it was located. 

“I never got a negative, never got a negative. It was always, oh, yeah, that's pretty central, that's pretty close, I live right down the street, or elements like that. But never, ever received a negative comment that said no, that's not a good location.”

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