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City approves Anthony, Eisenhower rec centers recommendations

February 21, 2019
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As seen in The Mercury, by Bryan Richardson (Feb 20, 2019) 

Anthony Eisenhower

The Manhattan City Commission accepted recommendations Tuesday for the recreation centers at Anthony and Eisenhower middle schools.

The recommendations came from the 44-member Middle School Improvements Steering Committee.

“This is a great coming together of the community for a common effort,” Mayor Mike Dodson said. “I appreciate all of the hard work that’s gone into that.”

The recommended centers will be 48,900 square feet with enough space for four basketball courts, five volleyball courts or 12 pickleball courts.

Tracy Anderson, principal architect of Anderson Knight Architects, said this would allow for different activities happening at the same time. “There’s umpteen number of arrangements that could take on,” he said.

The committee’s recommendations also include an elevated running track, lobby and mezzanine with lounge and spectator seating, community room, concessions and portable turf.

Anderson said the portable turf would allow for year-round practice with an emphasis on soccer and baseball.

He said the design also addressed security concerns of the city, Manhattan-Ogden school district and the steering committee related to use of the facility during school hours.

The courts are split to two sides with the lobby and meeting areas in the middle. The public won’t be able to access the courts directly connected to the schools during the day.

The track, which is on the second floor, would only go around the courts that can be accessed throughout the day.

Commissioner Jerred McKee said he likes the setup of the facility. He said facilities with all of the courts together can be overwhelming because of distractions and being unable to identify whistles being blown.

“I think this lends itself even better for having tournaments and having a number of people in those facilities at one time,” he said.

However, steering committee member Ed Klimek cautioned that not having wood floors at the centers could limit the types of tournaments Manhattan is able to bring in.

The recommended flooring is a synthetic flooring that allows for more flexibility including the use of turf.

“The kind of flooring that we have going in there now will be fine,” Klimek said. “But if we really want to have the attraction for these traveling teams, this may not satisfy it.”

Members of the public praised the project particularly residents in the Northview area, who will be served through the Eisenhower center.

Aileen Wang, a member of the Greater Northview Action Team, said residents support the plan, especially the multipurpose room.

“It’s a place to build a sense of community, a sense of belonging for people who don’t play sports,” she said.

City administrators expect to have 30 percent of the design ready for public input in April and May.

The commission also authorized McCownGordon Construction and Anderson Knight Architecture, the design/build team, to develop a guaranteed maximum price for construction. City administrators anticipate getting that figure in June.

Current estimates for both facilities is about $17 million. The centers are being funded by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2017.

The centers are scheduled to open late 2020.

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