Beaufort News

Plans for rec, senior centers unveiled

Extensive redesigns of the Island Recreation Center and relocation of the SHARE Senior Center were unanimously approved Tuesday by the Hilton Head Public Facilities Committee and now will be considered by the Town Council.

Spokesmen for three architectural and development agencies hired by the town presented a $12- million plan for the rec center, which could be approved in whole or part.The town would pay about 90 percent of the cost. Grants and a multi-year fundraising campaign would cover the rest.

Center officials say they have outgrown the current building, which opened in 1988.

The rec center plan -- developed by Lee & Parker Architects, the FWA Group and Mission Resources Group -- is divided into three phases. Each is distinct and would not necessarily have to be included in the renovation.

At a projected $6.9 million, the most expensive component is a new lap pool, large enough to host regional competitions. Also included in that phase is the relocation of two tennis courts near School Road to allow for an outdoor "splash pool," which would include fountains and small water slides. The tennis courts would be moved next to four others near Hilton Head High School.

Another element of the proposal, at a projected $4.8 million cost, would create a new gym with an elevated running track and three outdoor basketball courts near the high school baseball field behind the center.

The rec center should not lose any revenue during construction.

If all three phases are approved, the projected annual operating cost of the rec center would be about $2 million, of which the town would assume about $740,000. The remainder would be covered mostly by usage fees and grants.

Committee member Kim Likins lauded the proposal's potential and particularly liked the lap pool. "We need to do things for the citizens of our community, not just for tourists," she said.


The proposal also included options for the relocation and enhancement of the SHARE Senior Center.

Supporters of relocation say the current 2,100-square-foot site at 5 Office Way is too small. The new senior center would be about 6,000 square feet with a large activity room, where aerobics and dance classes might be held.

It has not been determined if the town would lease land for the center or build it on land it already owns.

The presenters targeted plots of town-owned land on the south end, near Crossings Park.

Committee member Bill Harkins suggested developers use vacant facilities for the center, asking, "Why build new when we have so much empty?"

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