LARGO — The old Highland Recreation Complex will close Monday, but don't worry, campers. Although you don't have access to it yet, the new state-of-the-art Highland Recreation Complex is having its grand opening June 2, just in time for summer camps.
After a year of construction, the facility with its three-story playground, two gymnasiums, a suspended indoor track and an interactive exercise space dubbed the ''exerplay" room is nearing completion.
In order to make the transition into the new building, the old structure, built more than 40 years ago, is scheduled to close Monday. (Largo's recreation staff will hold limited office hours in the building for about four weeks to help those who need to register for recreation programs and summer camp.)
In May, all operations will be put on hold while the staff moves into the new digs at 400 Highland Ave. NE.
In the interim, regular classes will be split among the city's other recreation sites.
Joan Byrne, the recreation, parks and arts director for Largo, says all the inconvenience is worth it.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this building is unique, not just in Largo, but it's a standout in the state,'' she said.
"When we started this, the architects wanted us to talk about inspiration. I told them I wanted this to be a monument for play. I want the family to come in and spend a whole day here,'' she said.
The total cost of the building, paid for primarily through Penny for Pinellas funding, is almost $17.3 million, according to Byrne. This figure includes $14.35 million for construction of the building by Creative Contractors, $1.9 million on the architecture and design by GouldEvans Architects, and $850,000 on new furnishings, landscaping and relocation of the skate park, which will be moved and reassembled at the Bayhead Complex on Seminole Boulevard.
Sometime this summer, the old complex will be demolished to make room for a parking lot and a multipurpose athletic field that will border the lake area.
Through April, the Highland Recreation Complex administration hours will be from 7 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. For more information, call (727) 518-3016.
Piper Castillo can be reached at (727) 445-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.