Here's the good news: the Mountain View Community Center at Rengstorff Park will get a much-needed remodel starting later this month to expand and spruce up the aging facility.
But then there's the bad news -- those upgrades are expected to cost $23.5 million and will require the bustling community center to shut down for the next two years. The center is scheduled to close for construction starting on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Recreation Supervisor Kristine Crosby gave assurances the improvements would be worth the sacrifice. The community center was originally built in the 1960s and that age is showing, she said. The center lacks adequate space to meet the demand of all the classes, day camps and groups that want to use it, she said.
"We've already run out of space. If you come here in the evening, this place is packed," she said. "Every room here is utilized, and we have to turn people away because there's not enough space."
For those reasons, the community center's users will need to tough it out for next couple of years. Crosby said her team tried their best to relocate those groups to other public facilities. The Recreation Department's customer services and front desk are being moved to the Senior Center just a short walk from the park. Meanwhile, preschool and day-care programs are being relocated to The View Teen Center on Escuela Avenue.
But some of the city's recreation classes and activities will be reduced, Crosby warned. She said she expected space in many city classes and activities to be "about 5 to 10 percent" smaller due a lack of rooms.
When complete sometime in mid-2019, the new Rengstorff Park community center will have an additional 7,000 square feet of space, increasing its total size to 28,600 square feet. That expansion will include a new social hall big enough for weddings, corporate parties or other large events, as well as two new fitness and dance rooms and four multipurpose rooms. A new preschool room is also being built as part of the project.
The upgrades will also address a long list of the problems, inlcuding accessibility, aging plumbing, a lack of elevators and ramps that don't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
City leaders made a late addition to the project, a $169,000 solar-power system for the community center's roof. City Council members also agreed to spend an extra $181,000 for a pricier siding for the center, which Public Works officials believe will reduce future maintenance costs.
Other facilities at Rengstorff Park, including the pool and tennis courts, will remain open under their usual schedules during the construction.
As part of the project, the city will also work on creating a new traffic signal and safety improvements at Rengstorff and Stanford avenues. Those upgrades are budgeted to cost about $1.4 million.
The City Council unanimously approved the costs of the community center upgrades at a meeting in June.