Burgdorf’s brand new Leisure and Community Gathering Center is almost ready to welcome residents of the city to come and see what it has to offer, with an open day for Burgdorf locals to see it all on November 20 .
The 50,000 square foot building, which sits on 32 acres of land, has been under construction since 2020 and will be ready to open to the public 16.5 months after the project begins.
The $32 million center and park were funded in two rounds of sales taxes passed, one in 1998 and one in 2018; City Council, in a divided and contentious vote, approved funding through certificates of participation last year to allow construction to begin and end in 2021.
Although the construction went well, it was not without difficulties.
“We had material shortages, labor shortages,” said Tom Boucha, project manager at FCI Construction, the general contractor for the facility. “We delivered on time, but we had some difficulties along the way.”
Despite shortages and the overall impacts of the pandemic, the facility is nearing completion and will welcome the community in less than two weeks.
Burgdorf City Administrator Chris Kirk said the size of the property allowed them to offer a wide selection of services.
“We programmed and crammed (stuff) into every inch of this site,” he said.
A walk around the facility will make residents feel like they are on a farm, with the exterior reminiscent of large barns. The mosaics placed at the entrance to the swimming pool give off touches of color as if flowers were emerging from the stone. The gym’s accent walls show magnified views of farmers driving tractors through a field.
But the building isn’t just pleasing to the eye, as it’s filled from corner to corner with community amenities. A large pool area features a lap pool, kids’ area and even a waterslide with a timer so kids can see who gets down the fastest. An indoor court provides space for basketball, volleyball and pickleball. Finally, at the north end of the facility is a large room for free weights, exercise machines, and a special program room for workout routines.
Just outside the facility, across a cobblestone driveway lit by overhead lights are several grassy pitches, perfect for outdoor sports. Nearby is a basketball court, a children’s playground and a 10,000 square foot skate park. Kirk said the pathways surrounding the facility connect to nearby streets, creating a communication route between the city and its local schools and the facility. He added that the trail around the facility itself, if walked twice, is about 5 km.
“It’s rejuvenating,” Kirk said of the nearing completion project. “A lot of what we do can be… repetitive, but coming here and seeing the project has been motivating.”
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Deputy City Administrator Jeremy Olinger.
As the facility draws to the finish line, everyone involved sees that it not only becomes a great place to stay healthy and have fun, but also a great place for residents to connect with. their neighbours.
Kirk said he sees it becoming a place that brings the Burgdorf community together, even serving as a venue for city events on the outdoor lawns.
“I really see it as transformative in bringing our community together,” he said.
Boucha said recreation centers like this are great for helping a community like Burgdorf grow, adding that FCI is “very happy to help grow this community.”
Amanda Gustafson, director of recreation and cultural services, said everyone in her office was thrilled to open the long-awaited facility to the public.
“It will be a place of destination for people,” she said. “Whether it’s a birthday party, or watching their kids play, or going to a fitness class. This town is really going to appreciate having something they can be proud of and go for.”
The grand opening ceremony will take place on November 20 starting at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting, then from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the community can explore the space on their own. More information about the recreation center, located at 1000 N. Berthoud Parkway, as well as how to register to become a member, can be found at berthoud.org.