A community recreation center in Manhattan offering a walking track plus basketball, pickleball and volleyball courts is nearing completion.
The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed crews as they started construction in March at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, 2501 Browning Ave. It is on track for completion by March 2021 and opening likely in April, unless there are coronavirus-related restrictions at that time, said Kyle Montoya, project manager for McCownGordon, the project’s contractor, and Randi Clifford, recreation director for the city government.
Montoya said crews have been able to secure materials and take the necessary health precautions in order to keep working.
The center, at around 45,000 square feet, will offer split use for the community and school with two large gyms. One gym is for the public and the other is for the school. Both gyms will house two courts. Each court will have a dividing screen between them. The side dedicated to the public includes a three-lane walking and running track up above the court.
“During design, there was a lot of input from the community of how we can accommodate the school’s need as well as the city,” Montoya said.
There will be a hallway that connects the two sides, which share a common wall. The public will be able to access the community side of the recreation center through a separate entrance from the school.
On the mezzanine level, there will be a concession stand as well as a multi-purpose room. Office and storage spaces will be on the ground floor. Each side will have its own restroom facilities. A staircase and elevator will connect the two floors. Translucent panels will bring light into both sides.
The gym for the school will have portable bleachers, providing flexibility for usage of the space. Students will attend physical education classes on that side of the building, with locker rooms, used by the school.
“Really, for me, the whole thing is just about bringing some much needed facilities to our community,” Clifford said.
If two different events are going on at the same time, the doors allow officials to secure each side of the building, Clifford said.
The total project cost is $17 million. Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School is getting a similar recreation center at the same price. The project at that middle school, at 800 Walters Drive, is about three months behind the one at Anthony, but that was intentional, Clifford said. Clifford said additional crews will move from the project, once completed, at Anthony to Eisenhower.
“It’s making very good progress too,” Clifford said.
Clifford estimated the Eisenhower project will be completed by summer 2021. Crews plan to finish the Douglass Recreation Center, going in at 10th Street and Fort Riley Boulevard, by the end of January, Clifford said.
Involving local community partners is important for this project at Anthony, officials said. Trade partners within 60 miles of the job site are putting in 70% of the contract value into the project, Montoya said.
Design partners for the project are Anderson Knight Architects of Manhattan and SFS Architecture of Kansas City, Missouri.
“They’ve played a really big role in the vision of this and continue to help us out through construction,” Montoya said.
Another team from McCown Gordon is working on renovating and adding more space to Anthony. Crews hope to finish that part by August 2021, according to the Manhattan-Ogden school district.
Next steps for the recreation center include completing the walls, installing flooring and wood finishes, finishing the ceilings, placing overhead gym equipment and lights; Montoya said dry wall work starts Monday.
“Personally, I’m just looking forward to use the space,” Montoya said. “Working in Manhattan for a good contractor, it’s nice to be able to work on a project where you know that our employees, local community’s employees are going to be able to use the space that we’re actually constructing. It’s not always that we get to build a project in our backyard, and we really are grateful when that time comes.”