The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Coralville begins plan to update 50-year-old rec center

The city is working with Iowa City schools, which uses the indoor pool for swim practice and meets
Isabella Tisdale
The Coralville Recreation Center is seen on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

After 50 years of use, the city of Coralville is making plans for a renovation and possible addition to its recreation center and indoor pool, to serve the community for another 50 years.

The city is working on a master plan to update its facility, and it’s teaming up with the Iowa City Community School District in the planning.

Sherri Proud, director of parks and recreation for Coralville, said the center needed updates. The most recent work — HVAC, electrical and a new roof — was completed 20 years ago.

“There’s a lot of things that are going to need some attention, and so it’s a good time for us to look at what we’re going to do with this building for the next 50-plus years,” Proud said.

Kelly Hayworth, Coralville city administrator, said the center has reached an age where updates are needed. He said there had been a previous master plan in 2004 to update the recreation center, but that was never implemented.

Plans to update the facility started again when the Iowa City school district, which uses the indoor pool for swim practices and meets, approached the city, Hayworth said.

Chace Ramey, deputy superintendent for Iowa City schools, said the district was happy to join the city in its plan to renovate the center.

“They’ve been a fantastic partner for a long time, and we’ve used the Coralville pool as our practice and competition pool for West High School and Liberty High School as well as a couple of our junior highs for our swim programs,” Ramey said.

Planning for the renovated space still is in the early stages. Earlier this month, Coralville residents were invited to complete a survey about what they want to see included in the project.

Among the questions asked were residents’ frequency of visits to the center and what existing features or programs at the center they used. The city reports that more than 150,000 people visit the rec center and indoor pool each year.

The survey also provided a list of proposed additions, asking residents to select which ones they would like to see. Among these options were a pickleball court, indoor track, batting cage, lazy river, climbing wall, and an e-sports suite.

On Friday, Proud said roughly 900 people had responded to the survey and the feedback so far has been positive. She said some of the things being requested the most were an updated competition space for student-athletes, more spectator seating, and more gym space, among others.

She also said the most requested new feature was an indoor track, something residents had been asking for before the survey and master plan.

As part of the planning process, a group of people visited other recreation centers in the state. Hayworth was one of the participants in these tours. He said the group visited facilities in Ankeny, Marshalltown, Mount Vernon, Marion, and the University of Iowa’s wellness center.

“I think one of the things we were extremely excited about all the facilities that we saw, how they’re really making multiple uses of spaces,” Hayworth said. “One of the other things is how they’re bringing the outside environment into their facility — a lot of natural lighting view corridors into the surrounding areas.”

Proud said although it would be nice to include every feature the public has requested, the city will have to keep the eventual budget of the project in mind. That means choices will have to be made about what’s included in the final plan and what’s not.

“We hope we can get as many things that are multiuse and make sense so that they’re just busy all the time for us,” she said.

RELATED: Iowa City schools to transition from junior high to middle school model

An example of a multiuse space is an expanded gym that could host different sports like basketball, volleyball, and pickleball, or be used as an open gym.

The city is working with Water’s Edge of Kansas City, Missouri, and Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City. They will take community and staff input and develop a concept.

The project budget has not been set. Proud said the master plan phase of the project has cost slightly more than $150,000. That expense is being split by the city of Coralville and the Iowa City school district, paying $90,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The project is only in the master plan phase currently and in its early stages in general. Proud said a community viewing night will be held June 11 for residents to review rough drafts of the master plan, with a finalized plan coming a few weeks after that.

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About the Contributors
Alejandro Rojas
Alejandro Rojas, News Editor
Alejandro Rojas is The Daily Iowan's news editor. He previously worked as a news reporter covering Johnson County and was the summer executive editor in 2023. He is a senior, double majoring in journalism and political science.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.