Council views latest drawing of gym
The latest concept drawing of the proposed indoor gymnasium was unveiled Monday at the Fairfield City Council meeting.
Dave Zahradnik of Neumann Monson Architects said the diagram shows only two racquetball courts in the new facility. The Roosevelt Community Recreation Center has three racquetball courts, but one of them is being used by the gymnastics and trampoline club. Zahradnik said the number of racquetball courts is being reduced to accommodate a lobby. He said the alternative was to keep the three courts and the lobby, but that would have increased the square footage – and the price tag – of the new gym.
Fairfield resident John Maguire asked if reducing the number of racquetball courts violated a resolution the council passed in February in which it promised to keep racquetball courts in the new gym. Councilor Michael Halley said the resolution did not stipulate the city would save all three courts. Other councilors agreed that the city’s intention was to preserve the two courts that were being used for racquetball and wallyball.
Zahradnik said the city can save money by building the gym floor three feet lower than previously designed. Councilor John Revolinski asked if that would make the gym prone to flooding. Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker-Associates said it would not because the gym would still be above grade. Lowering the gym floor would mean simply that less fill dirt would need to be trucked in.
Zahradnik said in an interview today the lobby would include a check-in desk that is bigger than any desk at the rec center now. The check-in desk would allow a staff member to keep an eye on the two entrances, from the east and from the north, while also being able to survey the basketball courts.
The lobby could include Ping-Pong tables or soft seating for lounging, Zahradnik said.
“We certainly aren’t thinking of it as a hallway,” he said. “We wanted to make it a welcoming space where you want to hang out.”
Tom McMahon, chairman of the pool and gym task force, said one cost-saving measure the task force has considered is to build the gym with few or perhaps even zero windows. He said that perhaps panels could be put on the walls that could be removed later after funding for windows had been secured.
Members of the audience asked the council if the revisions to the pool and gym project’s price tag will affect the year the pool opens, because of the delay involved in creating new architectural drawings and getting cost estimates for both elements of the project. Mayor Ed Malloy said he is working under the assumption the new pool will be finished and open to the public in 2015.