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Case Study: Durango Recreation Center (Part 1)

By Dot Helling

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To envision a good recreation center for Montpelier, it helps to see what other communities have done. We begin by profiling the Durango Recreation Center in Durango CO. Opened in 2002, the recreation center serves the 17,000 residents of Durango, CO, as well as another 34,000 residents of surrounding La Plata County.

First Question: What does the Durango Recreation Center have for facilities and activities?

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The Durango Recreation Center (DRC) is a state of the art recreational facility opened in 2002. Total square footage is just under 72,000 sq. feet. DRC has a lap pool, a warm pool, recreation pool, hot tub, climbing wall, indoor track, fitness area, full locker rooms for men, women and families, a gym for activities such as basketball and pickleball, and more. Their lap pool includes 25 yard regular lanes by 25 meters across which gives them 11 competition lanes and more in either direction, with lots of versatility. There is also a diving area and lanes are always available for recreational lap swimmers in both the main pool and warm pool. DRC has meeting rooms and earns income by renting rooms for birthday parties, recreational programs, regular community and special events etc. Daily programs include yoga, zumba and core and body strengthening classes. Substantial income is derived from swimming programs and meets which also bring a boost to the local business economy filling rooms and restaurants. Local hotels purchase passes for their guests, usually punch passes are bought 100 at a time. DRC is located on the river path which runs through the City and makes DRC easily accessible by car, foot or bike, and also Durango's public transportation systems. The City population is about 18,000. Approximately 1/3 of its membership comes from in town residents, 2/3 from out of town residents in surrounding communities, and the remaining users are day or punch pass holders.

 
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The entire Durango Recreation Department which includes the DRC has 33 full time employees and over 500 part-time. Ten full time employees are dedicated to the running of the DRC including a Rec Manager, Rec Facility Operations Manager, Rec Supervisor for Childcare and Special Events, Rec Facility Maintenance Supervisor, Facilities Coordinator, 2 Lead Maintenance Custodians, Rec Supervisor for Aquatics, Rec Assistant II for Front Desk and one for Aquatics. DRC employs several hundred part-timers for jobs like lifeguards, water safety instructors, custodians, fitness instructors, front desk reception and child care. They use volunteers for special events but primarily rely on paid staff. Volunteers get complimentary DRC passes based on hours worked. All paid staff gets membership. Personal trainers work at the DRC on a 70/30 fee split.

You can learn more about the Durango Rec Center at the DRC website.

Chris Hancock