Putting The Community First

“The addition of IcePlex was an opportunity to look at how RecPlex could change and grow with its membership,” says O’Connell. The former 8,000-square-foot fitness center was replaced by an 18,000-square-foot center featuring floor-to-ceiling glass with views of Lake Andrea, party rooms and larger staff and childcare areas. The old fitness center was remodeled into wellness spaces for massage and dedicated studios for spinning classes, martial arts and yoga.

A Growing Concept

The community response to the facilities proves Pollocoff’s vision and approach were both necessary and realistic. Forty percent of local households have a membership to the facility, and nearly 14,000 of the area’s population are members. With the facility designed to be affordable, members pay an annual fee of around $650.

“When you consider the cumulative cost of other recreational opportunities–winter skiing, water park entrance fees and ball league fees–the fee proves its value,” Pollocoff says.

The village is still looking at ways to expand, and is considering a 50-meter pool with deeper water and other ways to anticipate members’ evolving interests. Pollocoff isn’t surprised by the facility’s success, but is pleased that after seven years, RecPlex and IcePlex have yet to seek taxpayer support.

Simple Advice For Other Communities

O’Connell says that other Wisconsin communities have shown interest in building similar community recreational facilities, but acknowledges that they have yet to get projects off the ground.

Pollocoff offers advice to communities hoping to create the same type of environment with a community focus. He notes that rural areas have a higher likelihood of creating a self-supported facility, as they typically do not have a corporate presence from competing fitness centers.

Another piece of advice is that community needs assessments and surveys are an invaluable way to plan upfront. Not only will the feedback inform the process, but will start to generate buy-in and interest, which provides momentum.

Pollocoff also offers, “Get an architect who listens.” He acknowledges that the team behind RecPlex was willing to understand the budget and listen to the community needs, resulting in a space that is unique and reflective of its users, instead of an off-the-shelf type of design.

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Related posts:

  1. Williams Architects–Project Portfolio
  2. BCI Burke–Project Portfolio
  3. Community Fitness Challenges
  4. Sasaki–Project Portfolio
  5. Fitness Cycles

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