A Pullman city official said construction crews hope to finish building the city’s new recreation center near the end of March and the new city hall sometime this summer.
Even on a chilly, wintry day like Tuesday, crews were hard at work converting the former Encounter Ministries Church facility on Crestview Street into a space suitable for the city’s offices and recreational programs.
The project is funded by a $10.5 million voter-approved bond. Construction began in September.
Kurt Dahmen, Pullman Recreation superintendent, said the new facilities are intended to provide more space for city employees, recreational programs and the Pullman Senior Center.
Currently, the city hall facility remains a labyrinth of wooden frames, metal piping and construction equipment. Workers have started creating the framework for offices on all three floors of the building. The new council chambers on the main floor is supposed to hold twice as many people as the existing one, Dahmen said.
The recreation center in the adjacent building is further along and already sports a new maple wood floor for the gymnasium.
The gym will be used for sports programs during the day and after school, activities for youth and adults. Dahmen said it is suitable not just for basketball, but for other sports like pickleball and volleyball.
He said the new space and its amenities should allow the city to offer more recreational activities for Pullman residents.
“There will be more programming opportunities,” Dahmen said.
Dahmen said the Pullman Parks and Recreation Department, which currently operates at the Pioneer Center on Dexter Street, relies on the Pullman School District to allow them to use gyms at local elementary schools. The new recreation center will provide the city a full-size gym, as well as a fitness room and multiple activity rooms.
Next to the gym at the new facility is the space designated for a much larger Pullman Senior Center equipped with its own kitchen.
The senior center at the current city hall building on Paradise Street offers activities, classes and meals to local senior citizens. It has a membership of more than 300 people, Dahmen said, and the Council on Aging serves food to an average of 50 people per meal.
He said his department expects to see an increase in those numbers when the new senior center opens, because it will offer about twice the amount of available space and more parking.
The new facility will also feature a new preschool classroom with direct access to a future playground.
Dahmen admitted that he and his staff were unaware of what was inside the new building before the city owned it, and were pleasantly surprised at all it offered.
The city is documenting the progress on the new city hall and recreation center on its website.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640 or by email to email@example.com.