For more than eight years, Bryce Merrill has been manager of the much-touted Provo Rec Center. Now, he is taking what he has learned to Orem.

On Monday, Orem announced that Merrill will be the new Recreation Director for the city. He replaces Karl Hirst, who retired at the end of March.

“Bryce has been a tremendous Rec Center manager for eight years,” said Scott Henderson, director of Parks and Recreation for Provo. “He is a great talent and we are happy to see him progressing in his career.”

Merrill will start his new position in Orem on May 17. He will be over several programs and sit on a handful a boards and committees relating to recreation in Orem, including the new Fitness Center.

“I am pleased to announce Bryce Merrill as the city’s new Recreation Director. Bryce’s experience in the recreation profession spans the past eight years as Provo’s Recreation Center Manager, three years prior to that as a Recreation Coordinator with Salt Lake County Recreation and three additional years as an Aquatics and Program Manager with the YMCA of Metro Dallas,” said Jamie Davidson, Orem city manager.

“I express sincere appreciation to many in the department and beyond who assisted in the recruitment effort. In the past week, I have had a chance to interact with many who have worked with and worked for Bryce and I feel very confident that his background, experience, energy and focus will serve Orem very well as he assumes responsibility for the Recreation Department,” Davidson added.

Merrill’s position puts him over the outdoor recreation programs, Senior Friendship Center, the city representative at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course and the outdoor pool, according to Brenn Bybee, assistant city manager.

Merrill will be over nine full-time employees and hundreds of part-time and seasonal employees and volunteers from lifeguards to umpires.

Bybee said he comes highly recommended. “We’ve been hearing good things about him. He has a proven track record.”

“Bryce is innovative. He checks all the boxes,” Bybee said. “He is going to do a great job.”

Besides his energy and enthusiasm, Bybee noted that Merrill is tech savvy and his philosophy is just what Orem was looking for.

Merrill won’t have to worry too much about the city parks as Orem’s parks are under the supervision of the Public Works Department, unlike Provo that has a Parks and Recreation Department. However, Merrill will still be very busy.

Part of his responsibilities is to make sure that city outdoor leagues and other groups needing fields to play on have what they need. That alone could keep him busy, according to Bybee.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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