To say the building of the new Orem Fitness Center has been a process is a bit of an understatement.
“Since 1979, the center has set a standard for recreation in Utah County,” said Mayor Richard Brunst during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility in July of 2019. “Today we take the next step in providing recreation opportunities. ... This project has been a work of many hands. We look forward to its opening in early 2021.”
That much-anticipated opening is scheduled for March 20.
Karl Hirst, director of Parks and Recreation, is also excited for that day to arrive. Between COVID-19 and Hirst being called to serve as acting Police Chief for a good part of 2020, he can tell you that it has been a bit of a roller coaster.
“At times it’s like, is anything happening?” Hirst noted. “Things are screaming now.”
Hirst said he’ll call for a meeting because something is needed that day and construction can’t wait. However, with all that buzz, much has been completed and Hirst said it is starting to look good.
Here is a rattled-off list of what Hirst said is done; gym floors, the playground, racquetball courts, boulder climbing walls, the incline walk up and the adult-sized slide back down, and the dance studio.
“The disco lights in the spin room are up,” Hirst said. “And they are polishing all of the concrete floors, and the hot tub is in.”
They have also added six pickleball courts in the gym.
Hirst said about 90% of the pools are done, but have remained open for high school competitions. They will close on March 1 for the finishing touches to be done including new paint so it will be fresh and new like the rest of the building, Hirst added.
Hirst said he had private reasons why he is excited to see the fitness center grow and be refurbished. His mother helped campaign for the first bond election to bring the fitness center to Orem with new and better swimming pools 40 years ago.
Hirst has three brothers and said every one of them met their spouse at Orem pools.
The cost of the building is about $29 million. The city has a bond for $22 million and had about $8 million saved up in the city coffers for the construction.
“You don’t get this opportunity as a city or a neighborhood very often,” said Hirst of the new fitness center.
Private groups also have partnered with the city to make sure the fitness center gets built. It was announced at the groundbreaking the Woodbury Corporation had donated $1 million to the project.
“This is one way we are showing our continual commitment to the city of Orem and its ongoing success,” said Randy Woodbury, president and CEO of Woodbury Corp.
Hirst also gave a nod of gratitude to Method Studio, the facility’s architects, and to Big D Construction, the general contractors on the project. This is considered a fast track project and will take much effort to have it all completed by the projected opening date.
He said the third prong of the group is the Alpine School District with help from Mountain View High School.
Residents drive by the center out of curiosity, but Hirst said they won’t have to wait much longer.
On March 17, tours will begin for the new facility. In the meantime, Hirst said there is a 20% sale on memberships from now through opening-day March 20.
Residents can find out more information by going to the website at http://oremrecreation.com.