Swimmers, Skaters, Dancers, Actors: Truckee Recreation Center looks to accommodate diverse activities | SierraSun.com

Swimmers, Skaters, Dancers, Actors: Truckee Recreation Center looks to accommodate diverse activities

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun File Photo

Dancers and actors need theater space, swimmers want a larger pool, hockey players are contending for an indoor ice rink ” and the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District is in the middle of planning for all of them.

District board members discussed design possibilities for the new Community Recreation Center, located on a 13.5-acre triangle parcel between Donner Pass Road, Interstate 80 and Highway 89 north, at last week’s monthly meeting.

Discussing phases two and three of the project board Vice Chairman Kevin Murphy suggested the aquatics center be downsized, the performing arts space be relocated to the existing community center and a college-size indoor ice rink be considered for the new recreation facility.

“We just don’t have enough wintertime indoor facilities for our kids,” Murphy said. “We would be able to do a lot with a rink surface from soccer to lacrosse, and of course ice hockey and skating.”

Depending on Mother Nature, the first phase of construction will begin in June and includes a 22,204-square foot double gymnasium with an elevated running track, an 18,000-square-foot community facility, classrooms, a kitchen, a 29-foot-high climbing wall and office space.

Plans for phases two and three ” which could add another 40,000-50,000 square feet of space ” are undecided, but could include an aquatics center and now possibly the ice rink, or an aquatics center and performing arts space as originally intended.

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But the bottom line for the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District is calculating what the community would be willing to support financially.

The district has secured funding for the first phase by selling $30 million in bonds, but funding for phases two and three has yet to be determined, and could go out to vote for a property assessment, said district General Manager Steve Randall.

In 2005, the district conducted a survey to gauge what Truckee citizens would support in terms of a bond measure. The results helped launch initial site plans like the gymnasium, and also touched on an aquatics complex, Murphy said.

Since then, the potential size of the structure has doubled and the needs of the community have changed, Murphy said.

“With the aquatics center, we felt that the town wouldn’t support a $20-plus million project,” Murphy said. “The performing arts folks gave us the indication they supported plans for a facility downtown [at the existing recreation center on Church Street] versus a black box at the new community center.”

In addition, the park district was recently approached by a real estate financier and an ice-rink expert who are determined to develop a new state-of-the-art “Igloo Ice Rink” in Truckee, and Murphy said the new recreation center could provide the space.

Ice rink proponent John H. Hugo of Truckee, said while he recognizes the district’s parcel as a possibility for the rink, he would rather pursue other sites as planning for the recreation center will “take too long.”

Amanda Conk, the district’s aquatics coordinator, suggested the board bring in a consultant to help find additional grants and funds, and conduct a feasibility study to measure what the region could support in terms of an aquatics center.

And as far as the performing arts groups, Rich Valentine of the Arts and Culture Council of Truckee Tahoe, said there have been many possibilities brought to the table, and until results from a $100,000 performing arts feasibility study come back in late fall, he can not commit to any suggested space.

Before the district can move forward with design concepts, Murphy said the district needs to determine what the community wants, what they can afford and what would be sustainable.

Board members decided to meet with the various interest groups, hold a public forum and then conduct another survey to determine where community support lies, said Randall said.