The proposed replacement of Kelowna’s Parkinson Recreation Centre with a larger new facility could be a joint project with the Central Okanagan School district.
Following a presentation by city staff Monday outlining four options for PRC—ranging from a $13 million renovation of the existing 52,000-square-foot building to a $51 million renovation and addition, as well as replacing it with a new $95,000-square-foot building costing $39 million or a larger, 136,500-square-foot replacement costing $50 million—council opted to support the larger replacement.
And according to city staff, while a new PRC is likely still at least six to eight years away, because the school district is planning to build a new high school on the former Dr. Knox Middle School site adjacent to the Apple Bowl, a joint venture may be possible. A new recreation centre could provide some of the recreation facilities that a nearby high school would need.
On Monday council was shown the four options for PRC that are under consideration and opted to go with replacing the existing, aging centre with a larger new building that would be located at the front of the existing PRC site, along Harvey Avenue.
By putting in on a different part of the site, it would mean the existing recreation centre could continue to operate during construction before it is demolished and the site it sites on used to replace the parking lost by the new building.
The replacement proposal calls for a building 2 1/2 times larger than the existing one, complete with three gymnasiums, and eight-lane pool as part of an expanded aquatic centre and space for programming, administration and operations.
The allocation of an initial,but as of yet undetermined, amount to be set aside for the project is expected to be included in the city’s 2016 budget. Council deliberations for that budget will take place next week.
A report to council on the condition of the existing recreation centre describes it as “tired and dated,” and says the mechanical system requires significant investment to bring it up to standard, walls, windows, doors and the roof are all at the end of their service lives, hazardous materials, such as asbestos and vermiculite, have been found in many parts of the building, the inefficient building’s operation systems mean it costs more than it should to operate and the layout is difficult to monitor from a security perspective.
The existing building dates back to the 1960s and has undergone several partial renovations and upgrades over the yeas, but city staff feel it is not worth continuing to pay to renovate an aging building that needs to be replaced.