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'facilities'

Oct 27

Community members tour regional parks and recreation facilities

Posted to Merriam Parks Facilities Master Plan Updates on October 27, 2016 at 2:03 PM by Andy Graham

On Monday, October 24, four city council members, three steering committee members, one citizen, two city staff members, and three consultants toured five area recreational facilities. Each facility provided a unique perspective into how a variety of local communities provide recreational services.

Here’s a rundown of facilities the group toured:  

Olathe Community Center
Age: 2 years
Size: 71,168 square feet
Construction Cost: $28.5 million
Annual Operation Cost: $1.978 million
Features/Amenities: indoor pool, fitness center, meeting rooms, child watch, walking track, dedicated indoor child play area, three regulation gymnasiums, artwork
Miscellaneous: Located in a park setting

Sylvester Powell Community Center, Mission
Age: 17 years/renovation after 5 years
Size: 80,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $16.5 million
Annual Operation Cost: $2.125 million
Features/Amenities: indoor pool, fitness center, walking track, meeting rooms, 3 regulation gymnasiums, congregation space for adults
Miscellaneous: closest community center to Merriam

High Blue Wellness, Belton
Size: 56,000 square feet
Construction Cost: Unknown
Annual Operation Cost: $1.6 million
Features/Amenities: indoor pool, outdoor aquatics, specialized fitness space, one gymnasium
Miscellaneous: located in a park setting

The View, Grandview
Age: 13 years
Size: 60,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $12 million
Annual Operation Cost: unknown
Features/Amenities: small indoor pool, art space, congregation space, incorporation of art, meeting rooms, fitness center, gymnasium

Gamber Community Center, Lee’s Summit
Age: 8 years
Size: 19,000 square feet
Construction Cost: $3.75 million
Annual Operation Cost: $453,600
Features/Amenities: meeting/congregational space, incorporation of art, park setting, outdoor amenities, small fitness center, small classrooms
Miscellaneous: originally built as a senior center

The tours were intended to provide examples of building layout, perceived value of services offered, as well as the size, scope, and operations (including staffing requirements) of similar amenities. Overall, it’s beneficial to see similar spaces in use when discussing options for building a new space. It is also helps to hear about lessons learned during the planning and construction process. Lastly, because of the varying ages of the facilities toured it allowed the group to see how interior details can be an important factor to consider when budgeting for long-term operational costs.  

Next Steps
As we near the end of the process to develop a Facilities Master Plan, mark your calendars for a public meeting at the Irene B. French Community Center on December 13 at 7 p.m. This is when the Master Plan consultants will present their draft recommendation of what a new facility should include to meet the community’s needs. After receiving public input, the consultants will present the final recommendation to Merriam City Council at the January 9 council meeting.
 
Upon acceptance of the recommendation, city council will begin discussion about how to proceed. Council will also review estimated costs for two other complete concepts that were developed as part of a previous assessment. City staff’s objective will be providing council members with the detailed information needed to make the most informed decision.
Oct 24

Survey findings bring community needs into focus

Posted to Merriam Parks Facilities Master Plan Updates on October 24, 2016 at 2:43 PM by Andy Graham

At the Sept. 22 Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee meeting, staff from Pros Consulting, SFS Architecture, ETC Institute, and consultants from Confluence presented findings from a statistically valid survey; proposals for a preliminary program plan; and an analysis of site configurations. When combined, this information will make up a majority of the Facilities Master Plan, slated to go before City Council in December. If Council adopts the Master Plan, work will begin to develop an Implementation Plan, which would include financing options and other considerations.

Right now, we’re still in the process of trying to determine what Merriam residents want for their Parks & Rec facilities, and recent survey results help to provide a greater understanding. We’ll look at some key findings in this post, but you are welcome to read the full report in the “Master Plan Documents” section of the Merriam website.

A Statistically Valid Survey
The survey required 400 respondents to be considered statistically valid. We had 522 people complete and return the survey, ensuring a 95 percent confidence level with a /-4.3 percent margin of error — anything under 5 percent is considered valid.


Demographics

Survey respondents represented an equal distribution of ages, length of Merriam residency, and gender (male/female). In addition, information related to race identification was consistent with current census data. The number of participants that voted in elections during the past two years was 85 percent. The cross-tabulated data was broken down into four categories: households with children under 10; households with children ages 10–19; households 20–54 with no children; and households 55 and older with no children.


Top Choices for Amenities

When asked which three items would be most important to include in the design of a new or redesigned aquatic center, respondents in each age group chose either the zero depth entry pool or lazy river. The next choices were mixed. Water slides was the third choice for households with children, but households without children want an outdoor pool with lap lanes. The fourth choice was a mix of spray pad, outdoor pool lap lanes, water slides and diving boards. An interesting fact from this question is that in all households with children, as well as those 20 – 54 without children, 87 percent indicated that at least one of the amenities should be included at the pool. This shows strong support for an aquatic center.

A similar question was asked in regards to a community center. All households chose an indoor jogging walking track as their first choice. The second choice for households with children 10 -19, and both categories of households without children was cardiovascular/fitness equipment, whereas those in households with children under age 10 selected the indoor leisure pool for their second choice.


A clear shift in priorities is evident further down the list. As with the aquatic center, the percentage of households selecting at least one item was extremely high, while households age 55 and older with no children were the lowest at 77 percent.


Funding

The last finding we’ll highlight pertains to support for different financing options. Two household categories chose a combination of a local sales tax increase, and an increase for local property taxes as a first choice. One household category chose a local sales tax increase, and one household category did not know or was not sure what they wanted. The second choice revealed the opposite result: two household categories chose the local sales tax increase; one household category selected the combination of sales tax and property tax; and the fourth household category didn’t choose either.


Key Findings

Consultants from ETC Institute provided the following summary of results:
  • There’s strong support new aquatic features.
  • Aquatic features rated as most desired are: a lazy river and zero depth entry.
  • Residents want indoor recreation facilities and amenities.
  • Top three priorities are: indoor track, fitness equipment, and indoor leisure pool.
  • Compared to other priorities, development of improve indoor facilities was rated as the most important amenity.
  • 43 percent of respondents in all household categories indicated they would use an aquatic facility with the amenities most important to them on a weekly basis.
  • 51 percent of respondents in all household categories indicated they would use a community center with the amenities most important to them on a weekly basis.


Contact Parks and Recreation Director Anna Slocum with questions. And check this blog each week for more project updates.

View a presentation of the survey results

Read the full report of survey findings

Sep 22

Welcome!

Posted to Merriam Parks Facilities Master Plan Updates on September 22, 2016 at 11:51 AM by Andy Graham

Welcome to the first blog update about the Merriam Parks and Recreation Facility Master Plan. We're glad that you are interested in the process and encourage all members of the community to remain informed about the project. Let's start with some background on the issues we face:

The Irene B. French Community Center
The City of Merriam purchased what is now the Irene B. French Community Center (IBFCC) in 1988 for $285,000. Renovation began in 1989 and included updates to all mechanical systems; new floors, windows and doors; and work to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — including the addition of an elevator.

Total startup costs for IBFCC (purchase, repairs and upgrades) came to an estimated $2.3 million. The facility opened in February1990 and has been an active part of our community. 

The Merriam Aquatic Center
The Merriam Aquatic Center (MAC) was built in 1985 and renovated in 1995. Traditionally, the life of a pool basin is anywhere between 30 – 40 years. This estimated life expectancy depends on many factors, including weather (freeze-thaw cycles and annual moisture play major roles).

Assessing conditions at the IBFCC and the MAC
Over the years, maintenance of aging infrastructure at both facilities has significantly increased. In spring 2014 a facility assessment was completed on the MAC by Larson and Associates. In the spring of 2015 a similar study was completed on the IBFCC. Findings from both studies revealed that across the board, systems are failing and repair costs are staggering.

Findings of the two studies led to the formation of a Steering Committee and the recommendation to undertake the Facility Master Plan process to identify what the community wants for its Parks & Rec facilities. Today, we are four months into the process of working with Pros Consulting to complete the study (after an in-depth selection process).

One of the major factors in the process is conducting a statistically valid survey. The survey has been completed and results are expected this week. These findings should provide more insight into which services and amenities the community would like, and if new facilities are warranted. 

Once the final report is completed in December, recommendations will go before the Merriam City Council to decide how the city should proceed.

Thank you for your interest and continue to stay up-to-date by reading weekly updates to this blog.

Stay tuned...this is an exciting time to live in Merriam!