Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo commissioners praise, question design for Highland Recreation Complex

LARGO — A vision for the new Highland Recreation Complex is taking shape.

Early renderings and a site plan of the $15.4 million project were approved this month. And city commissioners will continue to weigh in on designs as they evolve over the next several months.

Pines and palmettos on the wooded site are among the elements that inspired the design by Gould Evans, according to the firm's vice president, John Curran.

The amenities would include a game room, a running track, party rooms, two gymnasiums, two program rooms, two locker rooms, a two-story child's play area, a fitness room and another fitness area with computerized games.

New trails, a new play field and new shelters are also planned for the site at 400 Highland Ave NE.

Most commissioners said they like the direction the firm is taking.

"I think it's a pretty creative design," Mayor Pat Gerard said Tuesday. "I love some of the features they're putting in there."

She specifically favored the firm's intent to incorporate nature and include a climbing feature for children in the project.

City Commissioner Woody Brown also applauded the appearance of the design, but he voiced concerns about some of the amenities.

He questioned the need for a separate locker room for the aquatic center and wanted more information about the path of the running track. He also wanted more feedback about how the flow of patrons would be controlled with limited staff.

The renderings of the complex show strong geometric lines and lots of windows.

"You want the natural light in the building as much as possible, and you want to be able to take advantage of the views," said Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert.

Vice Mayor Robert Murray and Commissioner Curtis Holmes expressed concern about the safety and energy efficiency of the numerous windows in the design.

Yes, a hurricane-rated window can withstand heavy winds, Holmes said, but "what will it do with a flying pine tree?"

At about 39,800 square feet, the new facility will be larger than the current 25,000-square-foot complex. Unlike the current facility, the new center will be visible from Highland Avenue. The entire complex will be rebuilt west of the aquatic center, which will be renovated somewhat to mesh with the new design.

The city plans to keep the current facility, which is east of the aquatic center, open during the construction.

Like the new Community Center, funds for the construction will be borrowed and repaid using Penny for Pinellas revenue.

The current complex, which opened in 1972, is the city's oldest recreation center, said Recreation Parks and Arts director Joan Byrne. Over the years, the metal building on a concrete slab has had its share of problems, including flooding, she said.

If everything goes as planned, the city would break ground in October and the complex would be open by the end of 2012, Schubert said.

Times staff writer Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Largo commissioners praise, question design for Highland Recreation Complex 03/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.