Shawnee leaders get first look at concepts for proposed $35 million community, indoor aquatics center

Shawnee leaders get a first look at a master plan and feasibility study results of the new community center.

Shawnee city leaders got a first look Friday at concepts for the city’s proposed community center, including feasibility, site design and public input of residents’ wants and concerns.

The new community center, if approved by Shawnee voters, would be located somewhere on the 26 acres of land at 61st and Woodland, which the city purchased in 2005 for the center.

Perkins+Will (formerly Sink Combs Dethlefs), the firm Shawnee hired in January, presented its master plan and feasibility study for the community center to the group at an informational workshop Friday, Aug. 3, at Town Hall.

The 2007 recession temporarily halted progress on a new community center, so Mayor Michelle Distler said she wants to make sure it is “100 percent funded” when it’s placed on the ballot, and that the mill levy increase put before voters can cover costs.

“It’s not if we have another recession; it’s when,” she said, adding that she hopes the user fees for the new community center will drop so that members don’t have to pick between paying utility bills and continuing their membership.

Nonetheless, Distler said she is “more optimistic than I’ve been in 12 years.”

Councilmembers and city staff also discussed future use of the Shawnee Civic Centre, wanting to avoid duplicating services with the new center. Councilmember Stephenie Meyer also raised concerns about the impact on the private sector, especially how memberships could hurt nearby privately-owned gyms.

Site plan and amenities

An overview of the 26-acre site purchased by the city for the community center.

The site, formerly used for agriculture, has a gradual slope and a pond; part of the property includes a 100-year floodplain. Design plans by Perkins+Will worked to maximize flatter spaces on the property, avoid construction on the floodplain and incorporate pedestrian safety and connectivity to nearby trails.

This photo from the feasibility study shows the site as it exists today. Some grading issues would impact the layout of the community center.

Other considerations for Perkins+Will’s site plan were public input indicating a “strong desire to preserve open space in the park, and the inclusion of outdoor amenities including gathering areas, playground, trails, recreational fields and other active uses such as Cyclocross.”

Public input gathered by a steering committee — made of representatives from Shawnee leaders and parks and recreation, the USD 232 School District and city residents — found that “there is an unmet need in Shawnee” for an indoor recreation and aquatic center.

As a result of public input and the feasibility study, Perkins+Will found that the community center should feature the following:

  • Indoor pool(s)
  • Multipurpose gymnasium court and field space
  • Fitness center and group fitness studios
  • Community meeting and multi-purpose rooms
  • Indoor walking/jogging track
  • Child watch and party rooms
  • Department administrative and support space

The estimated square footage of the two-story base facility is 63,383 square feet, with a total project cost of $34.67 million.

Perkins+Will estimated that adding an indoor 6-lane competitive lap pool would take an additional 8,505 square feet and cost $5.62 million. Going for an indoor 8-lane competitive lap pool, on the other hand, would take 11,340 square feet and cost $7.45 million.

Here’s a rendering of a possible layout for the center with the 8-lane lap pool:

Projected operational costs

The study also indicates that an estimated annual cost of operation for the base facility, which would operate year-round, is $2,143,503, with a projected annual revenue of $1,761,135. This would require an estimated annual subsidy of $382,368 to recover 82 percent of expenses. That amount decreases to $229,602, or 90 percent recovery of expenses, by the third year of operation.

Including the indoor 6-lane competitive lap pool will cost an additional $112,139 in annual subsidy, or an additional $213,314 for the 8-lane option.

The proposed site plan for a community center would include space for community-related activities such as a lounge/relaxation space, formal and informal gatherings, meetings, receptions, public restrooms and arts and crafts.

The site plan also includes flexible use rooms for fitness and recreation activities, such dance, yoga, aerobics and other group exercises and classes.

The proposed gym/court space would also be flexible-use for a multitude of sports, including basketball, volleyball, pickleball and badminton. A 9-foot-wide, 1/10 mile-long running track would circle above the gymnasium space.

An indoor turf field size, roughly 60-by-105 feet, could accommodate several activities, including soccer, baseball, football and lacrosse practices, cross training and boot camp workouts, day camps, clinics and rentals.

The proposed indoor pool — in response to high demand for leisure, therapeutic and lap swimming — would offer the following:

  • Swim lessons
  • Lap swim
  • Open swim
  • Water aerobics
  • Physical therapy
  • Water basketball and volleyball
  • Play structures

Proposed operating hours and membership fees

Proposed hours of operation at 98 hours per week are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Proposed annual membership rates for residents are $360 for youth and seniors, $420 for adults and two seniors and $720 for a household. Proposed annual rates for nonresidents are $432 for youth and seniors, $504 for adults and seniors +1 and $864 for household.

The council committee will review the findings again at 7 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, during which the public will comment. After the presentation by Perkins+Will, staff will seek direction from the council moving forward, including partnering with USD 232 School District for aquatics at community center, continuing the city’s relationship with the design team, construction methods and public input through a ballot question.