Shawnee taps Denver-based firm to lead feasibility study on possible community center at 61st and Woodland


By Jerry LaMartina

Denver-based architecture and design firm Sink Combs Dethlefs will conduct a feasibility study for a possible new community center in Shawnee.

At its Monday night meeting, the Shawnee City Council unanimously chose the firm to conduct the study. Eleven other firms also had submitted qualifications.

Shawnee will pay the firm $114,750 for the study. The 2018 budget had earmarked $200,000 in the Parks and Pipes fund for this purpose.

As part of the feasibility study, Sink Combs Dethlefs will:

  • Conduct as many as 10 focus group meetings and as many as four public meetings
  • Provide a statistically valid survey regarding a new community center
  • Provide virtual-reality modeling and website development
  • Develop ballot language for a possible public vote in November
  • Provide program and concept-design development
  • Conduct a market analysis and revenue study
  • Create an implementation plan

The city bought 26.3 acres of land at 61st Street and Woodland Drive in May 2005, designated for a future park, pool and community center, according to a Monday memo from Parks and Recreation Director Neil Holman to Interim City Manager Vicki Charlesworth.

According to the memo, the demand for more recreational facilities has increased since a 2007 study was conducted. Needs assessments for Parks and Recreation conducted in 2008 and 2013 “show that the need for indoor recreational and/or aquatic facilities have consistently remained as one of the most needed recreational facilities with strong support to build and operate.”

“In addition, in the more recent Citizen Satisfaction Surveys in 2015 and 2017 the support has been trending up with over 64% are very supportive/supportive and only 19% unsupportive,” according to the memo. “The opening of the new Lenexa Community Center and the recent approval of the new ($30 million) Merriam Community Center has spurred increased calls and questions regarding the development of a community center for the residents of Shawnee.”

The other firms that submitted qualification statements for the contract: Aecom, BG Consultants, Confluence, Draw, Finkle + Williams, Gould Evans, Greenplay, Hoefer Wysocki, HOK, Huft and SFS Architects.

The selection committee included Holman, Deputy Parks and Recreation Director Tonya Lecuru, Assistant City Manager Nolan Sunderman, Shawnee Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Members Brian Bolen and Jennifer Riggs, Shawnee Resident Justin Maxson and USD 232 Superintendent Frank Harwood.

Sink Combs Dethlefs has 25 years’ experience planning and designing community centers and has completed more than 150 projects. It announced in October that it had merged with international architecture and design firm Perkins+Will.