Facility Friday: Community College Rec Center, Aquatic-Fitness Center Revamp, HS Athletic Wing Upgrades | Athletic Business

Facility Friday: Community College Rec Center, Aquatic-Fitness Center Revamp, HS Athletic Wing Upgrades

Facility Friday

At Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash., Tri-Cities students have been chipping in to help replace an aging, inadequate recreation center.

Now after more than a year of delays, the $35 million facility is nearing completion — and lives up to the hype. The facility is modern in every sense of the word, setting students up to compete in everything from volleyball and indoor soccer to esports.

CBC athletic director Scott Rogers gave the Tri-Cities Sports Council a tour of the Columbia Basin College Student Recreation Center last week. “I’ve been here 25 years and I never thought I’d see this happen,” said Rogers, who noted that students were able to start using the facility in late May. “This is actually a student-funded project.” 

Which makes it even more impressive, because state funds weren’t used. In 2018, CBC students voted to support the project by having each student pay $50 per quarter toward the project. The new building replaces one that was 65 years old. By September of 2020, the school’s tennis courts at the south end of the Pasco campus were being torn up and dirt moved.



The original goal was to have the building opened in February of 2021. But the pandemic — and the slowdown of the supply chain — pushed the timeline back to May 2022. The result is an 80,000-square-foot thing of beauty — almost double the size of the old gymnasium and recreation center.

All CBC students have free use of the facility. There are still some cosmetic things to be finished, and certain rooms are still being completed. One is the school’s new esports gaming center. It has the low lighting needed for competitions and what looks like space for 12 gaming stations when it’s finished. — The Tri-City Herald


The Town of Tonawanda (N.Y.) Aquatic & Fitness Center, which a town official said is losing about $600,000 annually, began a fresh chapter in early September. After a monthlong shutdown to complete improvements on the center, the town hopes will position AFC as a desirable alternative to nearby chain gyms.

"It will have a better vibe to attract young folks and families," said Carl Szarek, a Town of Tonawanda councilmember and chairman of the Youth, Parks and Recreation Department committee that led the overhaul.

The facility's footprint was expanded by a third, Szarek said Saturday, and gym locker rooms were demolished, walls removed and exercise equipment spaced out to create a more open concept. Szarek said members appreciated more space when AFC reopened its gym in June 2021 after more than a year closed.

The facility's footprint was expanded by a third, Szarek said Saturday, and gym locker rooms were demolished, walls removed and exercise equipment spaced out to create a more open concept. Szarek said members appreciated more space when AFC reopened its gym in June 2021 after more than a year closed.

Turf has been installed as a softer surface to support a variety of workouts in the gym area and aging cardio machines were replaced. Szarek said the workout area now has 10 treadmills plus a single-occupancy gender-neutral restroom.

Szarek said the town board approved $240,000 for the AFC rehab project, and his team was able to keep costs down by having the Youth, Parks and Recreation Department handle the work instead of paying a contractor. "The public loves it because they see our people doing the work," Szarek said.

To entice families, Szarek said a room has been designated for kids' birthday parties or business meeting rentals alike, while family programming will be augmented on weekends. — The Buffalo News


In Seale, Ala., a high school was renovated over the summer. 

The work is now done at Russell County High School , and the school recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate. According to Russell County School District’s athletic director Larry Knox, the school’s football program had grown from having about 45 players to having 110, so more space was needed to accommodate them.

“We created two more locker rooms for the football program,” he said. “So now, we’ve got three rooms that they’re housed in, so we’re able to spread the kids out. We’ve got lockers with locks on them now.”

The school hired a company to create murals in the athletic wing representing different sports. One wall is dedicated to all of the school’s sports programs.

“So when you walk through, you’ll see basketball players, you’ll see volleyball players, you’ll see band stuff,” Knox said. “You’ll see football stuff.”

According to Knox, reactions to the renovations have been overwhelmingly positive, and the renovations create a sense of pride for students.

Knox couldn’t say how much the renovations cost the school district, but he said they were largely funded by donations.

“We’re billing this year as our winning season by dedicating this athletic wing to our student athletes,” he said. “It shows them that we’re committed to helping them be as successful as they can on and off the field.” — 

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