By Joe Johnson
The Watauga County Community Recreation Center, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020, is currently under construction along Complex Drive in Boone, NC. The Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department will relocate on April 29 to the East Annex (Rock Building) located at 331 Queen Street, Boone, NC throughout the construction period. The Watauga County Swim Complex will be closing on the evening of April 30 after their “Final Splash” event being held throughout the day; the Final Splash will be the last chance to experience the Swim Complex until the Community Recreation Center opens in 2020. The phone numbers for the facilities will remain the same and operations for the Parks and Recreation department will remain as-is, excluding the Swim Complex.
The Community Recreation Center will be a 100,000 square foot facility featuring a wide variety of recreational spaces located where the current Watauga County Swim Complex resides. “This thing is primarily for the locals. That’s a big message we want to make sure we get across to people,” said Stephen Poulos, Director of Watauga County Parks and Recreation, “It will be the Parks and Recreation home for our department, there will be 4 gym floors, office space for all of the staff, a multi-purpose room, 2 party rooms that could be made into one bigger party room by the pool, and 2 pools including a lap pool and a warm water pool with play features for kids, water aerobics, and youth swim lessons, among other activities. There will also be an indoor walking track, a fitness area with aerobics equipment and workout machines, a spin room, and a climbing wall followed by a pool; there will not be any diving boards, but kids or adults can go onto the climbing wall and get to the top, and when they reach the top they can just jump into the water. That will be pretty cool!”
Boone has long been a destination for winter sports activities; however, there is not currently a facility in Watauga County that caters to the various needs of those wishing to participate in year-round exercise and sporting activities. Watauga County Parks and Recreation plans to change that with the introduction of the new Community Recreation Center in 2020. “In the recreation world we do master plans every 2 years and we do a survey of the community every 10 years; the Community Recreation Center was the number 1 identified need for Watauga County,” said Poulos, “People who want to go skiing come up to Boone. When the Community Recreation Center is finished, they can come up to swim and hang out in the Rec Center instead, especially when the ski slopes are unfortunately not open or having a bad weekend of weather.”
Although the Watauga County Swim Complex will be closing until the opening of the Community Recreation Center in 2020, there are several local pool options for those who would like to swim or stay aquatically active in the meantime. Available local pools are located at the Deer Valley Athletic Club, the Student Recreation Center at Appalachian State, the Williams YMCA of Avery County, the APPRHS Wellness Center, Lenoir Aquatic and Fitness Center, and Robbin’s Pool at Broyhill Park.
For continually updated information about construction of the Watauga County Recreation Center and how it will affect recreational operations, visit wataugacounty.org or the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Facebook page.