It’s been over five years since Pulaski County Board of Supervisors appointed a seven-member committee to study the feasibility of an indoor Wellness Center for the county.
Monday night the board got a glimpse at two options for development of a Wellness Center, in addition to the pros, cons and estimated costs of each.
One option would be to construct a new 100,000-square-foot facility at Randolph Park at an estimated cost of $15.8 million and the second option would be to renovate the former TMD Friction industrial building to house the facility at an estimated cost of $13 million. Neither option would include an indoor pool due to elevated costs.
Randy Jones, an architect with the Blacksburg firm OWPR, told the board of supervisors Monday night that either option is “viable and has a lot of potential.” Both Jones and Cecil King, a member of the study committee, asked the board for direction on how to proceed now that the study is complete.
King suggested the county proceed with one of the options, noting a recent study that ranked the health of Pulaski County citizens low (at 119 out of 133) in comparison with other counties in the commonwealth. He indicated the health study shows such a facility is “severely lacking” in Pulaski County.
However, after seeing Jones’ presentation, the board took no action on either option.
To determine what size facility is required, Jones said the committee and OWPR determined the square footage necessary for each amenity desired. In the end, it was determined around 100,000 square feet of space is needed.
The center is projected to include four full-size basketball courts; an elevated walking/running track; one or two indoor practice soccer fields; four racquetball courts; indoor batting cages; cardiovascular, weight and aerobics rooms; spin and dance classes; senior activity and exercise rooms; multi-purpose/rental rooms; a catering kitchen; teen/game room; child care facility; indoor playground; rock climbing area; offices for county parks and recreation; first aid station and gym supervision office; men’s and women’s locker rooms; a lobby, and control desk, and storage.
If a new building is constructed at Randolph Park, Jones said it would be a “modest” masonry building with enough money put into the exterior design to make it attractive and fitting for Randolph Park. He indicated the two-level structure would include a raised walking/running track overlooking the basketball courts and being twice the length of the track at Radford City’s recreation center.
One option would have the building constructed in the area of the current picnic shelter at the rear of the park, while the other option would place it near the Dublin Alumni picnic shelter in a portion of the currently wooded property.
Jones said the site nearest the alumni picnic shelter would provide the most parking spaces within the park as a whole. He noted that parking is sometimes a problem at the park during the busy season.
The “pros” of constructing a new building at Randolph Park, Jones said, include the ability to design the building to meet specific needs; new construction costs are more easily predicted than renovation costs; it will be at the existing park, enabling the county to continue to promote Randolph as the “jewel” of the county; additional parking will benefit existing park facilities, and it will cost less to operate than the much larger TMD facility.
“Cons” are that fewer programs can be accommodated in the smaller available space; the facility will cost more for less programmed space, and the new facility will add to already existing problems of Randolph Park being crowded at times.
Jones said the 160,000-square-foot TMD building will allow for more programs, including wrestling facilities, indoor tennis courts and an indoor track that is a third longer than the track in a new building. Since the facility sits on 30 acres, he said there also is the potential for additional outdoor recreation fields.
The “pros” of using the TMD building include the ability to house more programs in the larger space; renovation costs less than new construction; congestion at Randolph Park isn’t increased, and the possibility of additional outdoor fields.
“Cons” are the difficulty in accurately predicting renovation costs; the spacing of interior roof-supporting columns limit efficient space planning, and it’s located inside Corporate Center industrial park off Cougar Trail, thus subjecting the facility’s users to heavy truck traffic.
Jones also pointed out the estimated cost to renovate the TMD building does not include $1.9 million Pulaski County Industrial Development Authority paid for the building in 2010.