Success of Provo’s rec center means it needs more equipment



The Provo Rec Center

The Provo Rec Center opened in 2013.

With more than 23,000 members and about $500,000 over this year’s projected revenue, Provo’s recreation center is getting its share of business. But all those members, plus the people who just come for the day, plus those using the attached senior center, plus the people who come for community events or competitions are stretching materials and resources.

“Sometimes maybe we sound like a broken record,” said Scott Henderson, Provo’s recreation director. “We’re experiencing some great successes.”

This year’s revenue is projected at $4.6 million, and the budgeted revenue was $4.1 million. But the rec center needs to maintain its level of service for all the thousands of patrons — one in five Provo residents is a member, plus about 3,500 non-residents — and to keep that revenue coming in, and growing, he said.

“That’s why reinvestment is really important in a story like this,” Henderson said. “Are we covering the needs of today?”

He said the success means that the center needs more:

— Floor coverings to protect the gym floors,
— Fencing near the competition pool, and a few other areas
— Lounge chairs at the outdoor pool to accommodate the summertime crowds
— Mobile computers so staff can better accommodate crowds
— Chairs and tables for community events
— PA speakers for the outdoor pool area.

Patrons are asking for better seating outside the racquetball courts, and staff would like to add BMI machines to give people working out an even better experience. The BMI machines read BMI, body fat percentage, weight, water weight and more in 45 seconds.

It also needs to buy a Myrtha Liner for the Wave Pool, additional sidewalk access and lighting for ADA compliance, and would like a digital outdoor concessions menu.

So Henderson on Tuesday asked the city council to be able to spend some of that extra $500,000 on those items.

“We’re not proposing we use all the revenues,” he said. The total for those items is about $308,000.

Councilwoman Kim Santiago wondered if non-resident users are putting too much pressure on the center, and those people aren’t also paying for the center via their property taxes.

Recreation center manager Bryce Merrill said about 80 percent of the 3,500 non-resident members work in Provo, and have memberships through their Provo-based companies. Henderson added that the non-resident fees are about the same as the resident fee plus the property tax, so everyone is paying about the same amount.

Plus, the center isn’t reaching capacity, even on its busiest days.

In addition to the $308,000 request, the rec center staff would like to do some more projects, but decided not to ask, yet. Henderson said they’d like to add heart rate monitors for fitness classes, add to the popular childcare area and resurface the concrete at the competition pool.

The city council agreed to consider the spending request at its next regular meeting in three weeks.


Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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