Two Cities Redux

“There was a time during May that we opened the building at 7 a.m. on Saturday and the building did not shut down until 8:30 p.m. Sunday, because we had six weekends of after-prom parties. We also have a special event every Saturday evening called Kids Night Out that goes until 11 p.m., and those after-prom parties would go from 11 until we opened the next morning,” says Friesner.

“The other surprise, at least for me, is the amount of people who use our lobby and game room area. Kids have really turned that into the living room of Longmont where they hang out, watch TV and socialize. It’s been a cool thing we didn’t anticipate.”

Jacobson relates that the high-school newspaper named the Longmont Recreation Center as the town’s best first-date spot.

Friesner adds that the climbing wall’s usage is “feast or famine,” so the hours have been streamlined. It’s open from noon to eight in the summer and 4-8 during the school year, since the primary users are kids 10-16.

Kaminski says Medina’s swim lesson program has been its most popular. He says that much of that, beyond running an excellent program, has to do with the limited opportunity for swim lessons in the area.

“We do not have enough water safety instructors because our swim lessons are to capacity with waiting lists. You couldn’t add up all of our programs to get to the numbers in learn-to-swim,” he says.

“My recommendation for someone starting off new is to promote all the programs prior to opening. We didn’t do that, and when we first opened our programs, they started off slower and then went uphill. I would have preferred to see them start off higher and continue to go uphill. I would have run some television spots or spots in the local newspaper highlighting the programs to give everyone an overview. It would create more interest, because someone who might not be interested in working out or the pool might be interested in a craft class or an aerobics class, then we might have gotten them at the beginning. We would have seen our programming and membership revenues increase.”

Everything else, says Kaminski, is exceeding expectations. He says that “little things” like the cafĂ© and the retail items — like shirts, bags, towels, water bottles, batteries and headphones — really add up.

Medina’s Rascal Room, the child care room that was expected to run at a loss, has been so well-run and popular that it’s actually generating some revenue. Kaminski says that its popularity has a lot to do with the parents’ comfort level, as the Rascal Room provides various levels of security, such as wristbands, ID numbers and signature match-ups.

“People have never complained because they don’t feel safe, or that the place is too dirty or expensive, and that’s the three reasons people leave. I believe people will pay for service,” says Kaminski.

Kaminski adds that the center’s leisure pool — with its water slide, current channel, zero-depth spray features, water basketball hoops and more — is the second-most used space in the facility, behind the fitness area.

Longmont’s Friesner says that its aquatics center is “by far, the main draw to the facility.” He estimates that about 75 percent of the usage is in the leisure pool, specifically the zero-depth spray area, while the other 25 percent use the lap pool.

“For us the biggest challenge has been the hot tub and managing the number of people in there at one time, and educating the parents of young kids that it’s not a good idea for kids five and under,” says Friesner.

“Another challenge has been the HVAC and keeping the air temperature warm enough, but not so high that the lifeguards want to take naps because it’s too warm. And, we have air quality issues during times of severe temperature changes, so we have to adjust and work with the system more often on days like that.”

Friesner says the HVAC challenge is not a design problem, but an area that the center has learned to keep close tabs on given the extreme temperature and climate fluctuations along the Rocky Mountain Front Range. As Friesner points out, a beautiful 80-degree day can easily turn into an arctic deep freeze in the course of mere hours, particularly during transitional months like October and April.

Kaminski says that Medina’s greatest challenge happened this summer when the field house floor was out of commission for 11 weeks because part of it deteriorated. It was a one in a million product failure, he says, that caused some angst among the users and some lost revenue for the center.

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