The Williston Area Recreation Center is 90 percent finished and on schedule for its grand opening at 4 p.m. March 28.
Williston State College and the city Parks and Recreation District have continued to partner on the 254,000-square-foot facility. Located on the corner of 18th Avenue East and East Dakota Parkway on the WSC campus, the “ARC” includes basketball and tennis courts, batting cages, a 200-meter track, 50-meter pool and a water park, among other features.
The recreation center is nicknamed the ARC due to its 660-foot-long wooden wall that dissects the facility.
JLG Architects and JE Dunn Construction remain in charge of the building plans of the facility. JE Dunn broke ground on the project in October 2012.
A month before the park board approved the maximum building cost of $71.9 million, city residents approved a one-cent sales tax, half to pay the bond on the facility and the other half to pay the district’s operating budget. The tax ends once the bond is paid but cannot exceed 20 years.
Executive Director Darin Krueger said the park district suspended its property tax in lieu of its sales tax for the time it takes to pay off the bond.
“We are on budget and on time,” Krueger added.
On Thursday, Mike Amundson, the district facility supervisor, provided a tour of the recreation center.
He was accompanied by Adam Kitchens, the assistant facility supervisor, and Kayla McKeil, director for marketing at the college.
The first and second floors of the center are nearly complete, as JE Dunn is fine-tuning the painting, flooring and installation of an array of features.
The ARC has a wide variety of amenities for the public.
The largest area combines four basketball courts and the 200-meter competition track set in the 56,373-square-foot multi-use space.
“These [features] extend the ability for local athletes to train year round,” McKeil said. The track can host all track and field events including the high jump and pole vaulting.
Another area includes a 40- by 60-yard indoor turf fieldhouse. The space allows teams to play soccer, football and athletic activities during the winter. It houses two dedicated and four retractable batting cages for baseball enthusiasts.
“Anything you can do on grass, you can do in here,” Amundson said.
The indoor tennis courts are also found on the first floor, where four courts will soon be installed in the 26,895-square-foot space. The courts can be used for other activities.
The main entrance, set in the center of the first floor, houses a fireplace and a lounge area that includes a glass window facade overlooking the pool area.
The pool area features a water park and “flow rider” wave simulator where visitors can enjoy wake boarding with the comfort of lifeguards on duty. This area includes a whirl pool and the “Lazy River Slide” for kids.
Visitors can soon enjoy the four-foot-deep instructional pool, where the park and recreation district plans on holding swimming lessons. Benches are strategically placed into the low-depth, 80-degree pool to better help kids hold onto railings when they learn to kick their legs in efforts to swim.
The park and recreation district currently provides swimming lessons about two months out of the year at Eckert Youth Outdoor Pool in Harmon Park or at its E.J. Hagan Aquatic Center. This new pool helps provide year round access to waters.
“Young families are always looking for swimming lessons for their kids,” McKeil said. “And now it’s easier to do that.”
Swimming is a popular sport in Williston and has not been forgotten in the recreation center plans. A 50- meter, eight-lane pool is located nearby
Around the bend are two racquetball courts and a golf simulator.
“We have a large golf community in Williston, and we had demand for the golf simulator,” Amundson said.
Children can also enjoy a gaming room, including ping-pong and a seating section for homework, designed for those not that into sports. A full-scale playground is located nearby. Rubber matting is scheduled for installation to remedy safety concerns.
“It’s a better playground than most indoor facilities,” Amundson said.
Seniors also have access to an activity room, where the public can enjoy board and card games and computer access.
“Everyone deserves a space of their own,” Amundson said.
A catering kitchen runs in conjunction with the room that may be useful in accommodating WSC cooking courses, McKeil said. A grill is planned for the outside patio, so visitors can enjoy a cookout during the warm months.
There are four meeting rooms that can be joined together to hold any sort of engagement, Amundson said. Meanwhile the park district, which is certain to see an uptick in activity, is setting up to move into adjoining rooms.
On the second floor of the ARC, visitors can enjoy a 54,000-square-feet space dedicated to fitness that will include cardio machines and circuit training. Free weights and a room dedicated to spin classes are also found upstairs. A walking track is also located on the second floor.
The ARC will be open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s also open Sunday from 1-9 p.m.
A membership includes access to the ARC and all group fitness classes, among other perks. Prices vary according to age groups and time commitment. For example, year long adult and youth memberships range from $480 to $240.
For information, visit the Williston Parks and Recreation District at willistonparks.com