Facility Profile - September 2005
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Good Giving

Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center
Moscow, Idaho

By Sutton R. Stokes

The plan is for the facility to remain no-fee and to support itself through private rentals, while remaining open to the public most days as late as 11 p.m. The Hamilton Center is the only city recreation facility that is open after business hours, which Morrison says benefits not only patrons but busy parents who otherwise would not be able to stop by the downtown parks and recreation office early enough to register their children for the various sports leagues the city runs.

Naturally, such a business plan puts significant budgetary constraints on the facility manager, but Morrison says that the new building just isn't that expensive to run. The natural lighting helps reduce electricity costs, as do lighting fixtures that can be switched between one-, two- or three-bulb operation. He also has found that the tall ceilings are no obstacle to cost-conscious heating, cooling and ventilation.

Morrison explains that the multipurpose room has particularly high ceilings, a potential utility-bill nightmare.

"We have found that leaving the ceiling fans on low speed in there is very efficient," he says. "We have not had to play with the heating in that multipurpose room at all."

In addition to a multipurpose room, the facility includes a multi-court gymnasium, a concessions area, locker rooms and administrative offices. As is the case with more and more facilities these days, load-bearing walls and other vital structural elements were placed to allow for easy future expansion, minimizing the impact on parking and other uses.

The facility has proved popular so far, both with exercisers and with children participating in the many varieties of sports leagues available at the center. In June 2004, the center's first month open to the public, Morrison reported 619 users, as compared to this past June's 1,281. He finds he is averaging about 1,200 users per month in the summer, and about 1,900 per month in the winter, not counting league players—and not counting league audiences.

"This city is very community-oriented," says Morrison, explaining that parents, grandparents, and other friends and relatives can all be counted on to support the young players. "My gym is packed [with spectators] when we have the kids playing."

McFadgen says she noticed a similarly positive attitude in Moscow during the design and building phases.

"It was a very lean budget," McFadgen remembers, "but it was really a fun project. There was a lot of hard work by the city to make this successful…It was exciting to be part of something that was so important to the city."

For more information
Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center: 208-883-7084