After years of planning, a recent groundbreaking ceremony at Stagecoach Park celebrated the start of construction of a $28.5 million project community center.
Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014. The building will include an indoor aquatics center and a multi-activity gymnasium.
“This is a special moment in time for this community,” said Kevin Corbett, director of parks and recreation. “This center will give the community great access to have fun and be healthy … It’s going to be our identity and a place to celebrate our future.”
The proposal for the community center emerged in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the Parks & Recreation Department started working on a master plan eight years ago that the idea became a reality.
After a park sales tax passed in 2004, the city decided to use a portion of that money towards taking action. Staff members worked with the City Council on what the center should look like, where it should be located and how it should be funded.
Three years ago, the council decided to put the center in Stagecoach Park.
“Stagecoach Park is an important site in the city, because it’s dead center,” Corbett said. “It just made tremendous sense because it’s very accessible to all residents. Plus, since there were already major plans to renovate the park, it rolled two projects into one.”
He thinks residents will come to see the place as both an indoor and outdoor community center.
The 72,000-square foot community center will feature a gym, elevated walking track, dance studios, a weight room, and event space, among other amenities. The architecture will utilize natural stone and materials.
“We wanted it to reflect Olathe and this part of the country,” Corbett said.
Surrounding Stagecoach Park is also getting a facelift. A bike trail will circle the park, with fitness stations. A rentable picnic pavilion and new playground will also be built. Corbett hopes that summer evenings will feature live music in the park as well.
“It’s very intergenerational,” Corbett said. “Every age will have something to do here. It was very important that we recognized all the needs of the community. We want residents to know this is their building.”
Tentatively, monthly fees for the center will be $72 for families and $44 for individuals, with rates for nonresidents and seniors also available. There will also be scholarships available to low-income families and individuals.
“There are still a lot of small details that need to be finalized,” Corbett said. “Right now, we’re just thrilled that construction has finally begun.”
Anyone interested in witnessing the construction over the next year or so, will be able to do so from the comfort of their home. The city has installed a webcam at the site, which will be updated every 30 minutes and frozen before dark.
To view the Community Center webcam, visit http://www.olatheks.org/parksrec/communitycenter/webcam.>