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Watauga Rec Center Cost Estimated to Reach Nearly $35 million; Could be Completed by May, 2020

By Nathan Ham

A new recreation center in Boone would cost the county almost $35 million according to an estimate from Clark Nexsen, an architecture and engineering company that provided Watauga County Commissioners with a design plan and cost estimate last month.

The proposed rec center has an expected completion date in May of 2020 with construction beginning in December of this year.

In addition to the information provided by Clark Nexsen, the aquatics design and management company Counsilman-Hunsaker also included a packet of information pertaining to the cost to run swim facility as well as estimates on how much money can be generated by such a facility.

The proposal suggested daily rates as well as monthly rates and annual membership passes for using the recreational facilities as well as resident and non-resident pricing. For the purposes of calculating a revenue estimate, Counsilman-Hunsaker chose a membership pricing structure with an $8 daily fee for county residents, a $9 fee for non-county residents and a $10 fee for visitors. The monthly membership prices estimated were $21 for seniors, $42 for an individual and $79 for a family.

The report from Counsilman-Hunsaker continued on to provide an estimate for the total operating cost per year for the aquatic center and an estimate of the revenue. The annual cost estimate was totaled up at roughly $1.5 million after adding up the facility upkeep, employment costs and programming expenses. The revenue estimate for 2021 after the facility has been completed was $861,126.

With such a sizeable gap between expenses and revenue estimates, the Counsilman-Hunsaker plans suggested that the facility host swim meets and other tournaments to offset the difference. That would bring in more revenue and more people to the area to see the high quality facility that Boone would have to offer.

The recreational facility would feature a gym with four multi-use courts, a track, a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool and multi-purpose rooms that could be used for exercise and fitness classes, parties and other social gatherings.

The location of the facility is expected to be near the intersection of Hunting Lane and State Farm Road.

This is an artist rendering of what the new recreational center in Boone could look like.
The new facility will feature four courts in the gym, a competition style swimming pool, a track and many other activities.