$15M West River expansion pitched: Project includes outdoor pool, expansions to Community Center and Rec CenterThe biggest recreation facilities in Dickinson may be getting some major upgrades.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The biggest recreation facilities in Dickinson may be getting some major upgrades.
The West River Expansion Committee, representing several Dickinson groups and organizations, said Monday it is spearheading expansion projects for the West River Community Center and Dickinson Recreation Center.
The $15 million project would include a $6 million expansion of the fitness areas and basketball courts at the West River Community Center and the addition of a $4 million outdoor pool and water park to the west of the facility.
The Dickinson Recreation Center would undergo a $5 million expansion that would change the arena’s façade and nearly double its size.
The committee aims to add a second hockey rink and four locker rooms to the south side of facility, connected to the existing structure by a common lobby area, as well as space for batting cages and pitching mounds. The space would also be used for non-sporting events, such as trade shows.
“We’re still very early. We’re still very much in the conceptual design, conceptual budget phase,” said James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation. “But, we are working with the different entities, trying to get some preliminary conceptual designs done so we can go out to the public and just start educating them and having them ask questions, so people in the community can better understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
Kramer said the plan is to secure the $15 million using both public and private funding with a projected completion in the spring of 2014.
The committee presented their plan to the Dickinson City Commission on Monday evening. The commission gave a nod to the expansion, but will look at firmer budget projections and ways to fund the project next month.
“They want to see that we have some skin in the game and we do,” said Scott Karsky, chairman of the West River Expansion Committee. “I feel like they are in favor of this, so we’ll make more finalized plans regarding budgets and construction and go from there when we come back to the city next month.”
Kramer said the committee hopes to set public forum dates for the near future.
“We want to get the public as much information as we can so that they can understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” Kramer said.
Kramer and Karsky both believe Dickinson is outgrowing the existing facilities.
“There are way more people in town and we want to keep up with that,” Kramer said. “We don’t want to be playing from behind.”
Kramer said membership and usage at the WRCC has increased — mostly due to the oil boom — causing fitness and basketball facilities to become crowded. The Rec Center has been turning away exhibitors for trade shows because of space reasons, Karsky said.
The current WRCC expansion plan calls for moving the two existing basketball courts to the north side of facility and adding two more courts. An expanded fitness area would then replace the area now occupied by the basketball courts.
“The whole idea is just to provide more opportunities for weights, cardio and fitness in general,” Kramer said. “That’s where we’re short. Our membership increase, the usage is in the fitness areas mostly. That’s where we see the immediate need.”
The pool and water park was part of the long-term vision for the WRCC since it was in the planning stages more than a decade ago.
It would be a separate structure with its own entrance, but those with WRCC memberships would have access to it.
The expansions are being designed by the same architectural firm that did the WRCC, Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative of Denver.
The West River Expansion Committee has seven members from the community and four ex-officio members that represent the Dickinson Hockey Club, the Western Edge Pool Committee, the Dickinson Baseball Club, Dickinson Diamonds Fastpitch Softball and the citizens of Dickinson.
Because of Dickinson’s rapid growth, Kramer said he believes the expansion of these facilities is essential in making sure the city’s appearance keeps step with its size.
“Parks and green space and recreational facilities are no different that streets and water and sewer,” Kramer said. “They’re a component of people’s everyday lives. People are looking for first-class recreational facilities.”
Press reporter Betsy Simon contributed to this story.