Making a Racquet | ParkRecord.com

Making a Racquet

Matthew Piper, OF THE RECORD STAFF

The pending renovation of the Park City Racquet Club has direct implications for almost every athletic activity in town.

Since the Park City Council’s approval of an $8.3-million bid to nearly completely rebuild the Park Meadows recreational facility, workers have been setting into action a plan to move activities and program offices to a leased space at 1255 Iron Horse Drive, across from the Windy Ridge restaurant.

The 8,000 square-foot facility was once home to Summit Sports Medicine, during which time it was used by athletes rehabilitating from injuries. It will host treadmills, bikes, free weights, assisted weights and spinning, and contains two showers each for men and women.

Childcare will be available (for people using the facility), while lockers will be provided for day use. Pass sales and program registration will be conducted at the front desk, and the building will also house the recreation district’s administrative offices.

"We’re pretty excited about it," said Recreation Analyst Michelle Stucker. "It is very spacious, and we’re going to be using every inch of it."

Many people already know the building for its swimming pool, Stucker said – leading to awkward interactions when she tells them it will be covered with a solid floor for fitness activities.

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"That’s hard because people go, ‘Oh, the place with the pool. You’re going to move the pool there,’" Stucker said. There are no contingencies for the pools, she said, and the Racquet Club’s aquatics and tennis programs will likely suffer most from the move.

Planners will meet with Okland Contruction next week to hammer out a fixed timeline for the construction. The renovation’s plans originally called for an opening in the fall of 2011, but that was reliant on an April start. The City Council, in the midst of calls for an increase in property taxes and tighter municipal spending, delayed voting on the project until its approval last week.

Next fall, however, remains the tentative target ahead of meetings with the construction company. Stucker said the project’s approval was the biggest obstacle to meeting that deadline, because the recreation staff was caught in limbo while the city deliberated.

"It’s really moving forward smoothly now that we know what we’re doing," Stucker said.

Although the building start date has yet to be determined, Racquet Club staff say they are "hopeful" pools will remain open for completion of summer programs. Summit County is nonetheless replete with alternatives for water enthusiasts, including the Ecker Hill Aquatic Center, South Summit Aquatics Center and Silver Mountain Sports Club.

As for tennis, league matches will continue, but there will be more matches played on the road than at home. Stucker said tennis pro Lori McMahon has been trying to find open locations in Salt Lake City. While the seven outdoor courts and three indoor "bubble" courts on Little Kate Road are staying open during the renovation, the indoor courts will be out of commission.

Clinics are now limited to a single court unless there are eight or more players, though Tennis Pass holders can still book courts up to two weeks in advance. The Racquet Club advises pass holders not to sign up for open play during the "prime time" of noon to 3 p.m. More outdoor courts in the local area include those at City Park, Willow Park, Trailside Park and South Summit High School.

The gymnasium at the Racquet Club will be left standing, but it will remain closed until next fall. Basketball players will find themselves with fewer options for pick-up or intramural hoops, especially during the winter months (outdoor courts are available at Willow Creek, Trailside or City Park).

Other recreational facilities in Summit Country are likely to see an increase in use as fallout from the Racquet Club’s closure. Basin Recreation Facility Manager Matt Strader said he has already seen a slight rise in users at the Field House.

"We can definitely accommodate anybody looking to come here and go back when it reopens," Strader said.

Upon return to the Little Kate location, the Racquet Club will become known as the Park City Recreation Center in order to "dispel the myth that it is privately owned." Stucker said they decided to hold off on the name change during the move to Iron Horse.

"We don’t want confusion," Stucker said. "If we call the new location the Park City Recreation Center, it could be perceived as a new business."

Stucker said the Racquet Club, built in the early 1970s, was in such dire need of the renovations that most patrons have been pleased to hear it is shutting down for improvements.

"Before the council approved the renovations, there were a lot more questions," Stucker said. "Now everyone’s just really excited."

Among the amenities that the rebuilt recreation center will offer are a running track, bouldering, a game room, a party room, expanded childcare, bigger tennis viewing area, seven indoor tennis courts, two group fitness studious, steam rooms, a family locker room, leisure pool, lap pool and pro shop.

A website will detail the renovation process and keep patrons apprised of changes to the schedule at http://www.parkcity.org/index.aspx?page=600.

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