The Chaska City Council approved 5-0 a major step forward for the Chaska Community Center master plan Dec. 6, signaling an architect search for a potential expansion and significant upgrades to the center.
The project, which would set a future vision and reinvestment, would kick-off by late Feb. 2022.
“For city government, that’s really fast,” said Mayor Mark Windschitl at the council meeting.
The 30-year-old 210,000-square foot building, one of the largest community centers in the country, has done without a large-scale budget — and the improvements that would have come with it.
“That facility has really served the community tremendously over those 30 years as really the prime gathering place here in Chaska. But the fact is, it is 30 years old,” said Parks and Recreation Director Marshall Grange, at the meeting. “We are starting to see major facility components fail.”
Developing a plan would let city staff be more proactive with upgrades.
Grange said the master plan could include a teen center, pickleball area or e-sports, reflecting changes in recreation trends over the decades. Different parking or an altered campus layout are also on the table.
“Things like fitness and working out (are) much more popular now,” he said. “But it really wasn’t at the forefront of the design of the facility when it was first built.”
Knowing what to incorporate into the potential new space takes input, Grange and city council members said.
A consultation group made of a citizen task force, city staff, school district staff and community center members will meet several times to voice wishes or concerns.
People can apply to be on the task force through the city by Jan. 30, 2022.
The city will also send out a community-wide survey, hold open houses and work sessions, and likely create an informative project website.
Grange said community center staff have already done an item inventory. It includes life expectancies of bigger items and what they’d cost to replace. Mechanical and technical upgrades, security, and ADA accommodations still need to be visited.
Doing all these projects in one saves money, Councilmember Mike Huang said, and offers a larger return on investment (or ROI). It’s also been a huge work in progress.
“This one I’m pretty excited about because it’s really kicking off something that we’ve been working to move towards over the last year,” City Administrator Matt Podhradsky said at the meeting.
“It’ll be interesting to see how we can utilize a space that’s pretty full,” Windschitl said. “I think that this will be an interesting re-invest back into the community to see what plays out and what comes out of the master plan.”
Golden Valley-based RJM Construction would manage building processes.
The community center currently boasts a fitness center, indoor pool with water slides, an indoor track, an outdoor splash pad, a two-sheet ice arena, an indoor playground with member drop-in childcare, and a theater. There is also an art gallery, active older adult center, gift shop and several leased spaces.