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BUSY RECREATION COMPLEX TO GROW BY LEAPS, BOUNDS

The $2-million project will include expansion of the classrooms and fitness center.

The city's busiest recreation complex will soon be expanded to better serve the 1,000 or so residents who use it each day.

The $2-million project at Southwest Recreation Complex on Vonn Road includes classroom and fitness center expansion, the removal of four outdoor racquetball courts and reconfiguration of office space.

"It will definitely enhance some of our fitness programs to give us that additional space," said recreation manager Jennifer McMahon.

The racquetball courts on the complex's south side will be demolished to make way for an addition that will include rooms for smaller classes, like aerobics, yoga and karate.

"We've kind of outgrown our space. We have four racquetball courts, which just aren't used enough to justify the space they're taking up," McMahon said.

The courts are in need of repair, and interest in the sport has waned, McMahon said. Only a handful of people use the courts regularly, she said.

City officials decided to nix the courts and expand the fitness center based on input from resident surveys.

The fitness center will likely be split into two sections, one for cardiovascular exercise and one for strength training, and there will be extra space for stretching, McMahon said.

Renovations are not planned for the Olympic-sized pool, which was resurfaced a decade ago. The dive platform may be refurbished if funds are available, McMahon said.

The project will be funded with Penny for Pinellas revenue. On Aug. 7, city staff will make a recommendation to the City Commission to approve Wannemacher Russell Architects of St. Petersburg to begin the design phase. Construction should be completed sometime next year, said Recreation, Parks and Arts director Joan Byrne.

The complex opened in 1985 and has hosted competitions for the Good Life Games, the Sunshine State Games, various swim meets and USTA-sanctioned tennis matches.

BY THE NUMBERS

1,000 Average number of people who use the complex each day.

125 Average number of people who use the fitness center each day.

240 Average number of kids enrolled in summer camps at the complex.

Sources: Largo Recreation, Parks and Art Department; Times files.

Chronology

June 1985: The $1.7-million complex with an Olympic-sized pool is opened after 17 months of construction.

1987: Three-tiered dive tower constructed.

1997-98: Pool resurfaced, new filter system installed, diving boards repaired.

2004: Fitness center expanded, new equipment added.

Summer 2008: Estimated completion of new expansion.

More details

Southwest Recreation Complex is at 13120 Vonn Road, Largo. Call 518-3125

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