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Local

Westwood’s No. 1 priority: renovations

Building 1 in line for $1.25 million in improvements

Efren Diaz of Sterling hits a drop shot Feb. 7 while playing pickleball at Westwood in Sterling. If a plan to reorganize Westwood Building 1 is approved, the fitness center would have a few less pickleball courts and more space for weight training and basketball.
Efren Diaz of Sterling hits a drop shot Feb. 7 while playing pickleball at Westwood in Sterling. If a plan to reorganize Westwood Building 1 is approved, the fitness center would have a few less pickleball courts and more space for weight training and basketball.

STERLING – The Sterling Park District is firming up a $1.25 million renovation plan for Westwood's Building 1 that will add a kids gym, a new fitness training area and a juice bar, among other things.

The park board discussed the proposed plans, which have been in the works for about 8 months, during a special meeting Monday.

The money for the project would come from $3.5 million in bonds the park district will receive next month, while $25,000 more has been budgeted for promoting the changes to the facility.

The Westwood 1 plans come on the heels of the park district's $1.7 million Westwood Tennis Center project. The tennis facility, built almost entirely with donations, opened Jan 11.

The park district has been working its way through the modernization of the Westwood complex since 2010.

"The driving forces behind the renovations are a desire to improve the aesthetics and to increase membership," Parks Director Larry Schuldt said. "In the late 1960s and early ’70s, they focused on functionality and didn't care about how things looked."

There has been a significant spike in membership – up to 96 percent in 2 years – every time renovations have been done to the fitness center, Schuldt said.

The additions would include a juice bar, a portable basketball court with a wood floor, a kids gym with child care staff, a functional training center and new equipment for the fitness area.

Many of the renovations would move certain activity areas around to allow for better use of available space.

"We're doing functional training in the weight room now, but there isn't enough room for it," Schuldt said.

Additional space for weight training and basketball could come at the expense of pickleball. There are 12 pickleball courts, but an assessment by staff indicates that's more than what is needed.

"The only time we need 12 is for our tournament, and it doesn't make sense to have more than six to nine courts unless we get more tournaments," Athletics Manager Kel Bond said.

The plan also includes moving the CrossFit program to an area twice the size that had been used for wrestling. The CrossFit area could then house the kids gym activities.

The baseball/softball area would get removable turf and netting would cover the entire area, allowing for the removal of the cages. The turf would open up the area to youth soccer activities.

An old physical therapy room has remained vacant because fire codes require the area to have a second emergency exit and ramp.

"I think we'll leave that vacant until we come up with a solid idea," Schuldt said. "It will cost between $60,000 and $70,000 to do the exit."

The space could be devoted to fitness and possibly leased for income, board President Marvin Reyes said. A massage therapist had inquired about using space at Westwood.

The four racquetball courts would remain intact, but the floors would be refinished.

The board hasn't approved the project yet because it will be done in phases. The board will vote on each job as it is bid out or to approve expenditures for work done in-house.

Schuldt said work would start in the fall and, if all goes as planned, wrap up before the end of the year.

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